Do you ever want to take some kids away from their parents? I know we’ve all have bad days and moments of frustration, especially while shopping, but I wonder how some people can be parents at all.
I apologise for the language in this article, but it is necessary. This is an accurate account of an incident that occurred while I was grocery shopping with my daughter this morning.
We were walking from the parking lot to the travelator when I heard a man say, “Fuck!” This got my attention because the shopping centre I go to is very family-friendly and as it was mid-morning it was mostly parents, children and some older people going about their day.
I looked up and saw a little boy aged about four running up the walkway. Two adults were walking behind him and I assumed they were his parents.
The little boy was running just ahead of them (as children do) and the man was striding purposefully behind him.
He then said, “Fuck! I’m so fucking sick of you fucking running off when we’re at the shops. I’ve fucking had enough.”
I had picked my daughter up at this stage and was trying to observe while avoiding eye-contact. They got on the travelator right behind me. His little boy had returned to them by this stage.
I then heard the dad say, “No, I’m not holding your fucking hand now. No fucking way. Not when you’ve been fucking running off again.”
The little boy walked up the travelator ahead of where my daughter and I were standing. He smiled at me and I smiled back at him. He didn’t seem abused or upset. He was obviously used to this sort of language.
I then heard the woman I assumed to be the mum say something quietly. These were the first words she’d spoken during the entire episode.
He responded, “That’s right. That’s twenty minutes now. That’ll teach you to fucking running off like that.”
I’ve never been closer to taking a child away from his parents before. I wanted to grab him in my arms and take him home. I just felt so sorry for him. I couldn’t believe the language over what was normal behaviour for a little boy and he wasn’t running very far ahead at all. My kids always run up that ramp and we laugh as they try and scare me when I come around the corner seconds after them.
I walked away. To be honest I was a little frightened. This man was belligerent. He was loud. He was very angry and he was very rude.
I might have a chip on my shoulder but I’m pretty sure anyone would find his behaviour offensive. I hoped it was just a bad day. I hoped he was a good dad most of the time. I clung to the fact the little boy had smiled at me and hadn’t seemed upset at all.
We were at the bread shop when I heard shouting.