Unaccompanied minor

The Scene: Safeway parking lot at approximately 8:00pm. The thermometer reads 80 degrees. I-66, with puppy in tow, had to go into the store to grab 2 items before heading home. Gone no longer than 4 minutes, I-66 had left the window cracked. He emerged from the store to see a girl, maybe 10 or 11, standing at the back of his car facing the store. The person presumed to be her father got out of the car parked next to I-66’s as I-66 walked past the girl. I-66 unlocked and reached for the driver’s side door.

Girl: “Excuse me.”

I-66 turns and looks at Girl

Girl: “I just wanted to tell you that you can’t leave your dog in the car, even for a second. When it’s 70 degrees outside it can be 120 inside the car, and…”

I-66: [looks over at the presumed father, now 10 feet away, for a moment as if to say "really?" and back at the girl before interrupting with deadpanned delivery] “Thank you.”

I-66 opens the door to the car, sits down inside, and puts the keys in the ignition. Girl walks over and stands between I-66 and the door.

Girl: “I’m serious! Something could happen. He could die or get heat stroke, or…”

I-66: [interrupting again with deadpanned delivery] “Thank you.”

I-66 reaches for the door. Girl steps back before walking back to the presumed father. I-66 closes the door, starts the car, and drives off.

Scene.

Now… First let me say that yes, one should not leave one’s pet in the car unattended. That said, the combination of the sun being down, the temperature, and the time elapsed indicated to me that it was not a risk. I do not make a habit of taking the dog with me if I know I’m going to be stopping somewhere that I cannot take him, but this particular night was an exception and an unscheduled stop.

With that out of the way, I have a few problems with what happened. First of all, what was that man doing letting his daughter verbally wag her finger at a stranger, not knowing what the reaction was going to be? Even if it wasn’t her father, he was at least temporarily the entrusted guardian of that kid. If that had been another adult trying to tell me what I can an cannot do with my dog, I would’ve verbally laid them out (and I have in the past). But since it was a child, I reacted differently. I could’ve laid into the girl and who knows what the result of that could’ve been? Secondly, what was he doing letting her walk to the front door of the car of a stranger while he stood idly by? With my keys in the ignition how difficult would it have been to pull her into the car and drive off? And lastly, while I may not have been able to do it, that kid is going to learn somewhere down the line that giving unsolicited advice, probably to an unreceiving classmate, is going to get her in trouble. All told, it was a swift reminder that some people aren’t fit to watch over children, and I gladly won’t be having any of them soon myself.

Unaccompanied minor

7 Responses

  1. Ugh- my father would have KILLED me if he saw me walking up to a stranger. He used to cut out articles about little girls getting snatched and show them to me to scare me- a bit much, perhaps, but the one time a car slowed down next to me while I was walking home from school, I jumped over a stone fence and booked it through the town cemetery. (The saddest part is I was like 17.)

    Oooh scare tactics. My father was scary enough that if he just said “don’t do that” I wouldn’t do it, for fear that he’d find out.

  2. DUDE. Bless you for having more restraint than I would have. I’m fairly certain my reaction would have been, “Whoops! I can’t BELIEVE that my car door accidentally smacked you in the head, little girl! You know, you really shouldn’t mess with a stranger and his dog…even for a second.”

    It was tough to hold my tongue. I think my face said a lot because I know I was wearing a look.

  3. You know, I wonder if the parents think that this is a way to encourage their daughter to voice her concerns.

    While I don’t think you were doing anything horribly wrong, the girl’s concern is understandable, and maybe her father didn’t want to discourage her from saying something when there WAS a real danger to someone else’s pet?

    I agree with you to an extent, but there’s a difference between asking and telling. Had she asked “Did you know” instead of telling me “you can’t”, I might’ve actually entertained her by explaining why I did it and that I’m aware of the situational circumstances. Instead, she got tuned out and her concern amounted to nothing. Nobody, prepubescent or otherwise, is going to get the time of day when they try to tell me what to do. Any parent that fosters an environment that permits telling an adult what’s what is going to regret it down the line when their own kid is telling them what they can’t do.

  4. You should have pepper-sprayed her.

    Sadly I was without. However, I probably could’ve thrown a milk bone at her.

  5. I am with Phil. teach that know-it-all brat a lesson. Pepper spray is the only option.

    Clearly I need to stock up.

  6. While even I can’t get behind child abuse (unless they deserve it! j/k!), I would have no qualms against Stryker punching a kid in the face. Think about it.

  7. Why didn’t you clock the bitch?

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