Sunday, January 20, 2008
A Scary Incident
We went to a well known, nice, big box store yesterday. At one point I heard the charming laughter of a young child, so I turned to find the source. He looked about two years old and was hanging off the back of a shopping cart being pushed by a man. An older boy, maybe four years old was hanging off the side, also laughing. As I visualized the likely outcome, it happened -- the cart toppled over on top of the older boy pinning him to the floor. He immediately started crying. The man either didn't care, or had other ideas about helping the little boy as I pulled the cart off of him. Just as I tried to comfort him and find out if he was OK, an angry looking woman grabbed him by both arms and tossed him into the cart. Still holding his arms and with a scary expression, she warned him to STOP. I tried to explain that the cart came down hard on him and. . . but the look she gave me shut my mouth. She ordered the man to get moving which he did sluggishly. I made brief eye contact with the child and gently touched his head. His tear-streaked cheeks and pained eyes haunt me. If anyone knows how I might have handled this better, I'd sure like to hear it. He was a boy being a boy and the adults in his life seemed intolerant of emotional displays. I can't help worrying about what kind of man he'll grow into. I also hope his heavy winter clothes protected him from injury.