My wife works every Saturday so I spend that day with the boys doing chores in the morning and then we go to our local town centre for a coffee (for me) and soy babycinos (for the boys) or lunch and a play. One day while we were playing in the awesome play area at our local shopping centre (one of the top ten playgrounds in New South Wales) this little girl who was about 2 and a bit started bawling;
“Mummy….. Mummy….. MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY…..” She was hysterical.
All the other parents there looked away. I could see there was no one coming to her rescue. I’m sort of shy but felt I had to do something so whilst moving towards the little girl I was calling out “is the mother of this child here.” Again, other parents seemed embarrassed and turned away (come on, I was feeling really awkward, but here’s a little lost girl). Some took their kids hand and left the fenced off and gated play area. And whilst they were making their escape the little girl made her way towards the gate. I cut her off whilst calling out to shoppers just the other side “anyone lost a little girl?” No one came forward.
By this time the little girl looked like she was about to choke on her crying fit and I got down and talked to her. And then she hugged me. I called out to one of the mothers to come and help me. I felt I needed the protection of a woman there to see that I was only trying to help her. No one was doing anything. The mother came over but the girl wouldn’t let go of me. My eldest son came over and asked me who the girl was. I told him that this little girl had lost her mother.
So then I reached into my pocket and got out my smartphone and Googled the phone number of the town centre’s management. I said “get a security guard here NOW.” They radioed one and he came running and I explained the story to him. By now about 15-20 minutes had passed. Everyone was staring at me and the mother that I had sort of helped me said “I’ve got to go” and took her kid and left.
The guard asked me if I could stay with the girl whilst he went to get the girl a drink (as is his training I guess). I told him that he wasn’t going anywhere and that I actually had to go myself. I really wanted to stay there and to see what the mother’s excuse was for leaving a child so young in a play area. Before you enter the high walled gated playground there is a sign of rules with the first one reading “Have fun and remember to… Bring your Mum, Dad and/or Guardian.”
I suggested to the security guard that they get a BIG sign put up that says “DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED.” I think it’s especially required seeing the security guard said they get at least one a week. Some parents are just plain dumb…