So. I was at Target today, picking up a few things. It was your average busy Saturday afternoon at the local Target — nothing out of the ordinary — but as I was walking out of the store, I noticed a little boy standing by the exit, by himself, crying. He was probably about six years old (I think… I am a terrible judge of children’s ages). Anywho, I saw him crying and went up to ask him if he was lost. He shook his head, but I wasn’t sure if he was just saying that or if he just didn’t want to admit he was lost. So I asked him where his mom was, and he pointed outside. I looked outside and didn’t see anyone… so I asked him if his mom knew he was inside. He said yes.
I didn’t quite know what to do — I wasn’t going to drag this kid outside in the event that his mother was actually in the store looking for him, but I also wasn’t just going to leave him stranded. So I walked outside to look around for a mother who may be looking around for her son. I didn’t see anyone, and I looked back into the store and saw two more women asking the little boy if he was lost. When I turned back around, a woman peeked out from behind a wall and was looking inside towards the little boy. I asked her if that was her son. She said, “yes, he wouldn’t leave the store with me.”
Um. Okay. So instead of making him come with you (you’re his mother and all… mother’s can sort of make their kids do things like this) you leave him there? For other people in a crowded store to worry about him while you “teach him a lesson”? Of course, I didn’t say this to her… I just said “oh good, I was worried,” as she proceeded to walk into his view and yell his name for him to go with her. I’m not sure what the other women said to her, or if they said anything at all, or what happened next, as I walked away at this point knowing that at least he was not truly lost.
Look. I get the whole “Okay, well I’m leaving, if you don’t want to come with me you can stay here” threat that parents use to teach their kids a lesson. And I get that she didn’t really leave and she was keeping an eye on him while she waited for him to come outside. But people see a little boy crying in a large department store and they worry. I’m not a mother and I don’t have that natural maternal instinct, but I immediately felt like I should take care of this little boy and help him find his mom. The two women behind me obviously felt the need to help him, too. I don’t think I’d want to be that mother who let other people worry about my kid while I watched. The whole thing just left me really unsettled.
What do you think? Do you think it was okay for the mother to do what she did — maybe she just had a weak moment — or did she cross the line by letting others get involved and concerned for the little boy?