December 19, 2010

In the icy parking lot

When we pulled into the grocery store parking lot tonight, everyone began arguing about who was going to run in and grab the stuff we needed. There were seven of us in the warm car, the whole family plus Sailor Boy. No one was volunteering to venture out into the cold.

Our discussion was cut short when Shaggy Hair Boy looked out the window and said, “Hey, why are there so many cops here?”

Two patrol cars had just pulled in, and six cops were walking purposefully toward the front doors. Boy in Black and Sailor Boy got out of the car immediately. Nothing exciting ever happens at this small town grocery store. Shaggy Hair Boy joined them, and they disappeared into the store.

“Of course, now we’ll going to have to wait forever,” said my daughter. She’s right. We hadn’t exactly sent in the most efficient shoppers.

My husband, impatient to know what was happening, went in and came back minutes later, carrying a small bag of chips. “I felt obligated to buy something,” he explained.

What he’d seen was a female cop sitting on the floor behind the service desk, talking to a small child, about two or three years old. Apparently, she’d been found out in the parking lot, alone.

I rolled down the window to look out across the parking lot. That explained why the cops were walking around the lot, looking under cars, going up and down the rows. The speakers that hung above the front door of the store were blasting cheerful Christmas music, which seemed eerie as the cops searched and we looked around, wondering if we’d see a frantic parent, a dead body, or perhaps another abandoned child.

When I went into the store 15 minutes later to hurry the boys along, a man about my age arrived to pick up the child. Someone told me he was the grandfather. The little girl hung onto his jacket while he talked to the cops and filled out paperwork. We never found out the rest of the story.


liz said...

I hope that there is a relatively (in this context) happy explanation... the girl wandered off by herself away from home without her parents noticing.

As opposed to someone just abandoning her.

Di said...

Prayers for the little girl.

kathy a. said...

how in the world did they figure out who her grandfather was? or did he figure out where to find her?

the few moments when i lost sight of my kids when they were little were heart-stopping. nothing tugs my mama-heart strings like a child who has gotten lost -- but usually by the time i've bent down and said "let's find your parents," a distraught parent runs up.

jodi said...

My children each escaped once while I was in the house with them. It only took a second of my back turned away from them. Luckily they just made it out to the yard. But after the second attempt I kept the doors locked with the deadbolt and wore the keys in my pocket. To lose sight of a child is heart stopping. Glad that her grandpa could pick her up.

jo(e) said...

I don't know. The story still doesn't make any sense to me. When I first heard the cops talk about a grandfather, I pictured a senile old man who maybe had forgotten the child. But the grandfather who showed up was about my age and had clearly driven in from somewhere in response to a phone call. The child was wearing a winter coat so it's possible her name and number was written inside the coat. I kept thinking maybe the child was with someone who had had a heart attack, but no ambulance was ever called so that explanation doesn't fit either.