OK. So, on the other day I took a small break from work and went to the Family Dollar store that’s close by and got myself a Coke and a box of Bite Size Frosted Mini-Wheats. When I got up to the line, I saw that only one register was open and it was backed up. Apparently, Family Dollar was THE place to be on that afternoon. Anyway, about 6 people back from the register, there was a display case of some sort, which would obviously cause the line to have to bend in one direction (or the other) and any new member of the line would then have to approach it from the side.
Well, there was a little girl…I’ll say about 6 or so…standing with a cart full of things. She may have been in line (because she was coming from the side) or she may not have been (because the space between her and the person who was DEFINITELY in line seemed to be right on the cusp of that imaginary demarcation line that would make the answer obvious). I didn’t see a parent with her so I figured I’d just go ahead and ask this little girl if she was in line. After all, I wouldn’t want to cut in front of her if she was.
So I asked her, “Are you standing in line?”
She looked at me like a deer caught in headlights. “Huh?”
So I asked again. “Are you in this line or are you just standing here waiting for your mom or dad?”
She just stared at me.
I said, “This is what I’m going to do, OK? I’m going to stand here (taking the place behind the last, obvious person in line) and if it turns out you ARE in line, I’ll let you and you go in front of me.”
And that’s when this happened:
“GET AWAY FROM HER!”
Everybody stopped what they were doing to see what was going on.
This woman came running up and put herself between me and the little girl. “WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?”
“I’m sorry, was this your place in line?”
“DON’T GIVE THAT BULLSHIT! WHAT WERE YOU SAYING TO MY DAUGHTER?”
“I was just trying—“
“TRYING TO WHAT? HUH? WHAT WERE YOU TRYING TO DO?”
“—figure out if she was in line or not.”
“YEAH ,RIGHT!” She took the girl’s hand and started pushing the cart away and down one of the aisles. “OUGHTA CALL THE DAMN COPS ON YOUR ASS, TRYING TO WHATEVER WITH MY LITTLE GIRL!”
And then, in a gesture that I’m constantly amazed at, the people in line offered to let me go in front of all of them since I only had 2 things. The person who was next to me in line offered his support by saying that he knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong and that the woman was overreacting. I gave the cashier (who sees me often, as Coke and Mini-Wheats are my standard purchases a couple of times a week) my business card with instructions to give it to the police in case the woman decided to “call the damn cops.” I think I’m in the clear, since I haven’t heard anything.
BUT, it does bring up an odd issue: pedophilia and the hysteria surrounding it.
I’m going to ask you to go here and read the article.
Done? Good. I’m going to come right out and say that I would probably have done what Mr. Peachey did. In fact, I’m SURE that I’d have done what Mr. Peachey did, because I have. Twice in the last year. Both times had to do with witnessing a kid have a bike wreck. The first time, my wife was in the van with me. We saw a girl fall off her bike. It looked spectacular, but the girl sat up and was holding her knee. I drove on by, and only stopped at the behest of my wife, who made be back up so she could see if she was OK. And she was, just had a scrape on her knee. The second time was pretty much identical. A kid fell off his bike. Again, it was pretty spectacular looking. But I drove on by.
Should I have stopped? Probably, yes. It would have been the decent thing to do. But I didn’t. It’s not an action I’m proud of. And, unless I know the child, I most likely would behave the same way in the future. Other personal instances, which you can read about in my March 19th 2009 note, and news stories like THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS are what make it very easy for me to understand WHY Mr Peachey did what he did.