The Parables of Parents in Retail Vol. 1

It was a Thursday night when a very rushed and stressed out father, nicely dressed in dress pants and a button up shirt with tie, came in with his son and daughter.  The son was approximately 9 or 10 years old and the daughter around 6.  The father brought them over to our stone display, the lit base shot through the opaque red, yellow, and gray stones and onto their faces as his finger pointed to each child, “keep an eye on your sister, do not let her out of your sight.”  With that the father was gone, and I took it upon myself (as a school teacher and the manager) to keep an eye on the children.  I didn’t approach them, but I watched them from a safe distance in amazement.  I have never seen any two better behaved children to this day.  The boy did not leave his sister’s side as they waited for a nod of permission to touch each precious gem.

After about twenty minutes even I was becoming bored for them as they looked at the same display.  Finally in time the boy began to relax and started to observe a specimen of Pyrite and Smokey Quartz instead of his sister who had turned her back to the display and onto the unit directly behind the boy.  She was behind him, but not out of his reach looking at games carved from bamboo.  I chuckled with delight as he let down his guard and began to enjoy himself, I myself found this store as a refuge of wonder when I was his age, and to bring that amazement to other children and adults alike was my main drive and purpose.

The father entered the store just about this moment.  His hands clenched in fists, his face turning red, “I told you to keep an eye on your sister,” he hollered!  The boys face turned to fear as he quickly placed down a fiber optic sphere he had become entranced in.  The father grabbed the boy with his left arm and the little girl with his right yanking them both in the direction of the small door of our store.   His arms swung as he marched with them, pulling the young girl back and forth in his fist.  He leaned to his left, not looking ahead, only screaming into the small boys ear, “I gave you one job, and you couldn’t even do it, what the hell were you thinking,” just then they came to the small portal to our store, and as he stepped over the threshold his right arm swung forward, slamming the small framed 6 year old girl face first into the yellow stucco wall.

I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to chase after them and tell the father how brilliantly behaved his children were, but I was terrified myself.  I empathized with the children and felt 6 inches tall.  He took only little notice to the young girls crash, and yanked her closer to his side and out the door.  This little girl that was so important to watch, and he doesn’t pay a second thought to slamming her at full force into a wall.

I pondered what to do, do I go out there?  Do I call security?  Do I call CPS?  I don’t know anything about him. I watched from the doorway with my arms crossed as the man lashed out at the boy for a straight 15 minutes.  I kept willing him mentally to look my direction, to see my dismay and offer me the opportunity to speak for the child.  But he never looked beyond the boy before they left.

The occurrence was nearly 5 or 6 years ago, the boy is probably in high school now, making straight A’s, and being primed for the Ivy League University of daddy’s choosing.  The young girl is probably adorably going through a quiet awkward phase in junior high, but I still lay awake at night, with the unrelenting thoughts of actions I should have taken.

11 thoughts on “The Parables of Parents in Retail Vol. 1

  1. kristinabicking says:

    I have experienced that gut wrenching need to interject my compassion and awareness onto parents, but have found solace in reminding myself that these experiences make children who they are. And perhaps these children will develop radical life skills or self realization from these unfortunate incidents of their childhood. But despite what I tell myself, it is still awful to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Annie Emmy Evans says:

    I hate this. With every fiber of my being. I would have been terrified, but I would have said something to the guy, no matter how scared I was. That’s not okay. And even as scared as we are, I feel like it’s important to speak up for those who don’t have a voice. Of course, I don’t know for sure how I would have reacted… I’m so sorry you were put in that position. Ick. How ugly. 😦

    Like

  3. Josh Wrenn says:

    It is tough, you know parents are going to make mistakes so you don’t want to intervene, but at what point does a mistake cross the line and need an outside observer to point it out? I took a lot of flak for saying that those who would bring their kids to Wal-Mart at 2 in the morning and then yell at them for being grumpy and tired were bad parents. But I stand by that. Well, maybe not bad parents, but participants in bad parenting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Krissy Penner says:

    I have been in the same position. And I always think, “If this is how you’re treating your child in public? How are they being treated in private?” Ugh. It’s a terrible feeling…

    Liked by 1 person

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