Connor and I went to the mall on a hunt for discount Scooby Doo movies. We didn’t find what we were looking for, but I picked up a few things and got in line. Apparently Connor thought we were walking out the door because he kept walking. I was so involved in finding my debit card and moving through the line that I didn’t notice he wasn’t beside me. It wasn’t until I went through the line that I noticed he wasn’t with me. I panicked and started to call out his name. It was about that same time that I heard a little boy crying and frantically screaming Mommmm! I looked through the glass of the store and noticed him by the entrance to the mall. Two things stood out. First the look on his little face. He looked completely terrified. He was crying and looking around for me. He also wasn’t shy about screaming to the top of his lungs…he was scared! That look still makes me want to cry thinking about it right now.
The second thing that stood out for me was that the mall was full of onlookers who did nothing to question why a small boy would be screaming and crying. People stared but didn’t stop or even try to get him to step away from the entrance. Two women laughed as they passed him. As soon I spotted him I mowed down two people to get to him, and I immediately scooped him up and held him on my lap for a full ten minutes. I don’t know if people think the way I think, but visions of him really being carried off or getting lost for a long time went through my mind. I was in near tears also. Connor just grasped my shoulders like I was the best thing in the world and he cried… not saying a word. I told him he did the right thing and if he is ever lost again to scream his head off. He seemed embarrassed, but I told him he was brave. We went to get a little chocolate ice cream, but he didn’t even eat much. I think the fact he was so quiet and not eating showed how traumatized he was for that few minutes. He later talked about it a lot… ‘Malls are scary placed to get lost, not like at your house where you know where everything is!’ True. I’m sure the situation was so terrifying to me because I tend to be emotional, but that glance of a lost and helpless child doesn’t leave your mind easily. I have hugged him at least a half dozen times today just thinking about the situation and how many children are abducted in this country. I know many people don’t want to get ‘involved’, but I hope if you see a child upset or screaming (whether they are alone or not) you should watch the situation to see if you need to call for help or at least talk to the child and see if there is something wrong. It only takes a minute and it could really be helpful.