Beware of the express lane at Walmart. It meant a wake up call for me and a good talk about stranger safety....here goes-
I had ventured to Walmart with all three boys last weekend. Not sure why I would do such a thing when Andy was home....sometimes I do need my head checked. But they had been cooped up on a cold day. So, a Walmart outing seemed harmless.
We had a cart FULL. As always happens. That is when the manager eagerly encouraged me to just go ahead and use the empty "Express Lane". Even though I clearly had a cart full....over the 15 item limit. The clerk was fine with it to. So, of course I was on a mission to get the heck out of Walmart asap.
As I unloaded the cart JackJack ran across the way to the evil arcade area. I could see him, he didn't have coins but was happily pretending he was playing games. So I continued to unload. Right about then 2 more customers show up at Express check out with there handful of items. Yep, I was the jerk in express check-out! They didn't get to see the manager eagerly encourage me into the express lane. There was some eye-rolling and huffing at me. So, I pick up the unloading pace. Jud and Drew needed to spend their coins on their little items and so I sent them to the back of the line, in an attempt to be courteous.
Just then as I am being handed the receipt I hear over the loud speaker "Will Jack's Mom please come to customer service". That's me! I look over at the arcade....no Jack. People are looking at the crazy lady running to customer service.
There is my sad, scared little guy. "Mama, I got scared. I didn't know where you were". Oh, Jack, honey! While I am on the floor giving him big hugs, I am also explaining myself to customer service. I could see him in the arcade, but obviously I was distracted with the express lane checkout when he walked out and didn't see me. A couple saw he was scared. He didn't want to talk to a "don't know", they said he was afraid to talk to them or go with them, but did agree to go find someone who worked at Walmart to find Mom.
("The Safe Side" is our favorite video about stranger safety, that is where the "don't know" speak comes from. www.thesafeside.com I really can't say enough about this video...my kids actually like watching it and it is a FANTASTIC way to talk about stranger safety....check it out at the library or just order it and watch it a 100 times like us. created by John Walsh and the creator of baby Einstein, Julie Clark Click this link: The Safe Side)
Of course, my mind went to all sorts of places. What if it hadn't been a nice, harmless couple helping Jack? What if there had been a predator there when Jack was so vulnerable without me? Would he have been strong enough to refuse to leave the building with someone? I can't know for sure, but it certainly brings up the need to have more conversations and reinforce what he did to stay safe.
I felt like the- worst. mama. ever. Not earning any Parent of the Year award here!
So, I take Jack back with me to get the unsupervised big boys at the express lane. Jud had checked out with his small toy and said a guy behind him had to give him a quarter to be able to pay because he didn't have enough money! geez..... All the while Drew is standing there with a bag of coins. Then of course, I see Drew is trying to check out with several items and his bag of coins. The clerk hands him a pack of gum and says "you do have enough for this". I didn't look behind us in the line, but I am pretty sure there was more huffing and eye-rolling.
(this is Jack, Jack with his usually cheerful, silly face)
And....get the Safe Side video. Talk to your kids about "Don't Knows" and who their safe people are. You just never know. Wake up call complete.