Friday, September 6, 2013

When Do You Get Involved?

Today I encountered a situation that made me stop and question myself. I was walking through a Kroger parking lot back to my car when I observed something that made me feel uncomfortable. There was an SUV parked about 4 spaces past me. There was a young boy (age 10 or 11) standing on the back bumper waiting as his mother conversed with a toddler in the back seat. The toddler appeared to not be too happy by the sounds of the screaming and crying coming from the vehicle. I put my bags into the back of my car and yet found myself drawn to the situation just a few yards away. As I rolled my cart to the cart coral the mother and young boy walked past me toward the store. The toddler could still be heard crying from the SUV because the windows were half way down. As the mother walked by she told the boy, "If they're going to scream and carry on like that they can just stay in the car."

My heart was suddenly in my throat. Did she just leave her toddler alone in the SUV? Should I confront her or mind my own business? I walked back to my own car, all the while listening to the child's cries. I started my own car, but couldn't leave. I drove down the four short spaces and pulled in to the empty space next to the SUV. I was so relieved to see a young girl (maybe 11 or 12) sitting in the front passenger seat. The toddler was not alone!

Did I have a right to judge the mother without speaking to her or knowing fully what was happening? Should I have left and simply minded my own business? Did I do the right thing by discreetly checking on the toddler? There may not be any right or wrong answers, but I knew (as a mother) what 'I' needed to do. Just a few days ago a 2 year old boy died in my area because he was left in a car with the windows rolled up. I have to wonder if anyone knew he was there before it was too late. What if someone had seen him and thought not to get involved? What if his death could have been prevented?

By me sharing this story you, as the reader, have every right to judge me and my actions. I'm fine with that, because my conscience will be clear tonight and I'll be able to look at myself in the mirror. When was the last time you were in a situation when you questioned whether or not you should get involved?

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