Thursday, September 12, 2013
Watchful Eyes- A Scary Story With A Happy Ending.
It's bothered me every since it happened yesterday. I try to think of something else and my mind wonders back to all the "What Ifs" even though this story had a happy ending it disturbs me all the same. I have to share with you if for no other reason than to just pour it out here so I can let it go.
I'm not writing this to drive people to fear, but to wake you to the very real dangers that face our children. Don't get me wrong a good dose of fear might lead people to change the habits that put their children in danger, and perhaps cause businesses to take a second look at policy. So here goes.. the story of how we learned of the watchful eyes.
Being under a lot of stress the last few weeks trying to be a mom, wife and blogger keeping up with all my obligations I chatted with my blogging partner Amanda and told her I need a day off. I wanted to make a day of fun for the Booper. My mother called and invited us to join her and my niece and nephew for lunch and fun times at a popular children's gaming restaurant. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to go since all of my obligations were pulling at me, but I knew the Booper would have so much fun-so we went. We ordered pizza, and got tokens for games, and the kids were so excited. The Booper ate more food than I've seen him consume at one meal in ages. He would do anything to get to go play those games emitting all the flashing lights and fun sounds. My mother divided up the tokens and I went with the Booper and she with my nephew, my niece is older so she went back and forth between us. All were having a great time and the Booper thought it was fun to just stay at one game feeding the machine token after token, I had to coax him to move on to something else out of my own boredom.
While I was attempting to persuade the Boop to try a new game, my niece walked up and says. Mamma told me to come over here and stay with you, I simply responded, "alright". Then she tells me, " I think a strange guy was trying to talk to (her brother)". "What!?" I ask. My eyes start darting around the room doing a mental checklist of all the important people, The Boop check, my niece check, scanning for my mother and my nephew. Then I spot them at the counter talking with the manager. I catch my moms eyes, bewilderment. What happened? What was said? Who was it? Oh my goodness the wheels in my head are about to spin out of control, my mother bear instincts raise my hackles and I'm ready to claw someone's eyes out.
I didn't want to alarm my niece or the Boop so I wait for my mother to finish talking and come over to explain what had happened. Here is the timeline of events that make my stomach do somersaults.
My mother walked my nephew over to play ski ball. Unknown to either of them a man was outside for several minutes watching my nephew. Then he came inside, even bold enough to tell the worker that he was coming in to watch my nephew. The worker assumed that he knew our family or was a relative so she let him right in. He stood behind my mother and nephew and kept trying to strike up a conversation with them. When my mother started ignoring him he came closer and tried to talk only to my nephew. As if that isn't strange enough. My mother started to feel defensive and took my nephew's hand and said to him, "Come on, (nephew) let's get away from this strange man." As they turned to walk away, the man took off at a run. Then proceeded to leave the restaurant. My mother seeing him run went straight to the front counter to talk to the workers. That's when she learned the man had told the worker he was coming in to watch my nephew, and that he had been watching him from outside through the window.
After much discussion I urged my mother to call the police. There is nothing right about an adult man watching a child he doesn't know through a window then coming in to talk to that child. The manager of the restaurant printed the man's picture and now the police have it and the incident on file. There is just something in my gut that says that man had bad intentions. Today, I'm thankful that nothing truly bad happened yesterday. All the kids had a great time, but my mind lingers on what might have happened had my nephew been unattended or it been another child who's family wasn't watching closely.
I needed to share this and just let other moms and aunts like me know about this situation. Perhaps we overreacted, but I don't think so. After the incident the restaurant manager talked with my mother and his employees, and he let us know that yesterday's events will be changing the way they conduct business. The police stated that even when they found the man for questioning no crime was actually committed so all they could do was talk to him. Even so, I'm happy to have the man alerted to the fact that now eyes are watching him.
Do you think we overreacted? Was this incident worth getting the police involved? How would you have responded to this situation?