What Would You Do?


September 24, 2009 by Marj Hatzell

So there I am, walking into the discount department store I despise most (because they cram their shelves and racks with stuff, it is TOTALLY NOT WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE and their sales aren’t that great).  I hang a left through the ladies section to get to appliances.  I spot her.  Cute as a button, looks just like what I always envisioned my daughter would look like. Red curls, princess dress on.  Crying.

Crying. As in, sobbing.

“Mom-mom?  MOM-MOM?  Where are yoooooooo?” Over and over and over.

There are a ton of other shoppers around. I glance around. No one looks up. Everyone ignores her. She can’t be more than four.

I kneel down and ask her if she’s ok. She tells me she can’t find Mom-Mom.  So she slips her sweet little hand in mine, stops crying and smiles when I tell her we are going to find a lady to help us find Mom-Mom.  We walked over to the counter to ask the lady just as Mom-mom appears, frantic (and just about to ask the same lady to help her find the cute ginger).  She thanks me profusely, the little girl smiles and waves.  We part.

There had to be twenty other shoppers around. TWENTY.  Not one looked up from what they were doing to find out if this little girl was ok.

So, what I want to know, Internets…

Would you have helped her?  What would you have done?  Are people so afraid to get involved when there is a crying child that they ignore it and look the other way?  If this were a TRUE EMERGENCY, are they going to be that self-absorbed?  Or would they help?

I’m hoping they were just side-tracked. It was difficult to ignore this poor child’s wails, I’ll tell you that. Maybe it’s because I’m so kid-focused or kid-centered that I stopped. Maybe because I’m the kind of person that would help a child and give up my own time.  Or maybe there are that many douche bags in the world. I dunno. I just know it really irked me that no one else bothered to help.

15 thoughts on “What Would You Do?

  1. Lori says:

    I think you are right, there are just that many douche bags in the world. Even before I had a child, I would take notice if I saw a kid walking around by themselves and keep an eye out until I saw them connect with an adult. But then again, I also keep cat food in my glove compartment, just in case I see a stray. I think there are just as many kind people in the world too. Or at least, I hope.

  2. She Started It says:

    I do not turn around if I hear a wailing child, because I’m assuming that the child is throwing some big temper tantrum and a parent is there. (Just as my own toddler did today.) However, if I actually saw a child crying by themselves, then of course I would do something. But I’d have to see the child. Because just hearing makes me assume it’s just a kid with their parent not having a good moment.

  3. lora says:

    This exact thing happened to me, at Walmart. It was horrible. No one paid any attention to either of us

  4. shattered says:

    I’d say screw him or her…It will teach them that life is real!

  5. Geekchick says:

    What scares me is it would have been just as easy for a perp to pick up that little girl saying they were going to help her and take her to some horror I don’t want to imagine. What is WRONG with people today? They tsk-tsk when they read about depravities occuring to children, but they do nothing to help when a child is so vulnerable. All I have to say is THANK GOD for people like you!

  6. GeekChick says:

    Shattered, I take it you don’t have kids? What kind of an ass would make a comment like that?

  7. tex says:

    I would have helped her immediately find her mom (poor little thing!)- then I probably would have gone all postal and disemboweled everyone within 30 feet. Then I would have gone to the Orange Julius in the food court and got me something to drink. And a pretzel.

  8. tex says:

    Ask Minxy sometime about what happened in San Francisco to the guy that broke my video camera.

  9. DeNise says:

    I think a lot of people do not help beacuse they assume someone else is going to take the responsibility to do it. It’s the, “It’s not my responsibility” mentality that goes on today with many people. I believe that there is a different sound between a child throwing a temper tantrum and crying due to sadness or confusion. Maybe I can just tell the difference because I deal with behaviors for a living…who knows…..

  10. RuthWells says:

    I do this at the playground all the time — if there’s a kid without an obvious grownup attached to him/her, I hover and don’t leave until I’m sure that they have someone there.

    It takes a village, peeps.

  11. feefifoto says:

    These are the same people that don’t hold open doors for moms with strollers, but will eagerly coo over your dog. I definitely would have helped, as I hope someone would help my child if I lost her.

  12. Tracy says:

    I would have helped. I once saw a boy, no more than 4, wandering through the Vancouver airport by himself. The parents were so distracted they didn’t even know he was gone. Luckily there were about 5 women who saw him wander off and stopped him before he got too far.

  13. Janice says:

    I would help the child! I was in JC Penneys a while back and saw a small boy wander into a womans dressing room that I knew was empty. I also saw an unsavory man in the area. I got the little boy by the hand and talked to him while I watched for his Mother. Before long I saw a panicking woman coming down the isle. She thanked me while hugging her child. She had been trying on clothes in another dressing room when he crawled under the door and took off. If you have even half a heart you will help a child.

  14. As a non Mom, I probably notice less. It doesn’t mean I am afraid, I just think I notice and know less than the parents in this comment thread. I will try to do better.

  15. Karen says:

    While Christmas shopping in Kohl’s during the 2009 season I repeatedly saw a pair of grandparents with their likely 2 1/2 to 3, at best, year old grandson. A bit later I heard and saw them wandering the shoe aisles calling his name and then I saw him so I scooped him right up – as non-touchy as I could be- and carried him over (all the while saying loudly that we were going to find his grandparents!) and they thanked me with great smiles.
    A few years ago as I crossed a parking lot along a busy road after exiting the public library, a 3 to 3 1/2 year old came running out of the doors and into the lot. I was afraid at the time to pick him up – too public, too afraid of giving a kidnapping impression- but I tailed him around the lot trying to herd him back in and I most certainly would have grabbed him if he had headed into the road. A scared Mom came running out several minutes later with the same result- smiles and a large thank you.

    There are other eyes watching out 🙂

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