Jan 21, 2008

what does one do?

The other day at Dollar Tree (why do so many of my stories begin like this? Don't judge.), while wandering the frozen food aisle (did you know there's a frozen food aisle there now? It's mostly freezie pops and sour "creme"....but still...very exciting), I heard the shrill yell of a child.

This, of course, is not at all unusual in Dollar Tree. For example, on my last trip, the four year old diva hurtling herself headfirst from of a pair of still-wired-together plastic high heels....straight into the Laffy Taffy.

I can't say if that was a complete accident on her part, however, if you know what I mean.

But this yell was different. I could hear real pain in the boy's voice, and I could hear his father's (presumably) voice, low and menacing. Eventually I caught a good look at what was transpiring.

It was sickening.

The father had jerked the boy up off the ground. The boy was all of 6 years old or so. The father was a good 6 foot 4. With one fell swoop he jerked the boy up into the air by one arm, nearly dislocating it. The child screamed in pain, crying hysterically. The father put him down roughly and threatened to pull him up again, "if you don't shut up that cryin', boy!"

The boy, needless to say, couldn't stop crying. I mean what living being could after that sort of pain, and surely enough the father (I use the term loosely) jerked him back up again by the arm. He did this a total of 4 times. I swear it looked like he had dislocated the boy's shoulder.

All the while the mother (a term I use just as loosely) was wheeling yet a younger child around in the cart, also screaming, and a middle child, a girl, followed behind sullenly. The mother never said a word, watching her son be tortured.

I felt so impotent at that moment I was shaking with anger. I didn't know what to do. I glared at the guy, and kept my distance, but followed them around the store...keeping my eyes on him for the while. We made eye contact and this seemed to keep him from doing it again ...in the store at least.

God help the poor boy when he got home. I could see the manager looking at him too, but she never said anything either. I wish I hadn't been so intimidated by this guy, but he was frightening, let me be blunt. I didn't know what to do.

I mean, how could one report this, and to whom? "Hi Officer, yes, I see a guy. No, I don't know his name, but he's abusing a child right now. They'll be gone soon. No, I don't know where they live."

What does one do in this sort of situation? It left me frustrated and angry and just plain sad for this poor child. I'm still frustrated and angry and sad in fact.


joe*to*hell said...

its nice to see that kevin and britney are getting along these days, and took a family trip

seriously, why isnt there a serious approvals process for trash having kids ???

jason said...

Believe me, Joe....Kevin Federline would *not* have intimidated me.


Michael Guy said...

"I'm with the Department of Children and Family Services. Is there a problem here?"

Of course you could still get your assed kicked.

This story made me angry, too. I dunno what I'd do in a similar situation except laser glares.

Silly Monkey said...

It pisses me off that people like that don't know that it's a privilege to have children and they shouldn't be abused and treated like trash. What a helpless situation for both you and the little boy. :(

I was thinking that maybe you could have waited and gotten his license plate number, but you know, these people probably already have thick files and are well known by the child welfare people.

And just think, those kids will grow up and treat their kids the same way.

thombeau said...

Wow. A story that starts out on such a funny note ends tragically.

Further proof that all the wrong people are breeding.

Miss Janey said...

Miss J woulda stepped outside and made a call... When it comes to child and animal abuse Miss J is a mean little tattle-tale.

Breezy said...

Maybe I'm just jaded, but it doesn't surprise me that he did that out in public. The sad thing about this story is that you know there are more parents out there like them. Children learn their behavior from somewhere, and they repeat it. It's a vicious cycle.

Elizabeth said...

I think because I'm a woman, and a petite woman at that, I'm actually less worried that some A**hole is going to hit me in a situation like that. Most men have to be really high or insane to assault - in public anyway - a "lady." So I usually intervene. To the abuser I say something like, "You shouldn't treat your child that way. You're hurting him! Stop it right now!" To the kid I say something like, "You know what, honey. That's wrong for him to hurt you like that. He shouldn't do that." I just want the kid to feel like the world sees and cares. I haven't been hit yet.....

But it would be different, as a man, to say that to another man, especially a man like that. You know he'd think you were picking a fight with him and haul off and hit you. So I think Miss J has the right idea. Maybe next time, step outside and make a call. It might not make a difference, but you'll know you did your best and that's something.

dbv said...

i followed someone out of a store in a similar situation and got their license plate number and reported them to CPS (Child Protective Services) here...of course, i exaggerated a bit so they'd look into it ASAP, i don't know what happened, but i felt better about doing something...