Another day, another complaint on my Facebook feed about a completely heinous breach of the human code of conduct. Chad (name changed . . . a little) is upset that “some lady” has left a grocery cart propped up on the mulch covered median instead of tucking it away gently with the rest of its grocery cart friends.
“How lazy do you have to be?!” Chad laments.
“Disgusting,” his friend Jon chimes in.
This grocery store cart business (that clearly had its picture taken from a moving vehicle in a pedestrian filled lot) has positively ruined Chad’s Tuesday. The barbarity!
Chad, honey? I feel you.
In my younger years, the sight of a cart stranded in the middle of the car park chilled me to the bone as weak. But I’m a little older now. And my bones don’t chill quite so easily.
Just so Chad and his cronies aren’t haunted by it all, so they don’t lay awake at night wondering what kind of a person would do such a thing, I confess: IT WAS ME.
I left that poor cart (squeaky wheel and all) to wallow on the asphalt like a common piece of trash. Yes, I know it inconveniences people. And yes, a whole lot of Lazy Larrys out there probably wait for an opportunity like this one to slack off at life. But I promise, I had a really good reason for painting the wretched picture of humanity that I did.
See, I have three very young children. I own the mom van and everything. We try to park as close to the cart return as possible. But sometimes? Things don’t pan out, man. As much as I would love to just shut them in the car, tell them to stay put, and strut my stuff over to that storefront to do the right thing? I can’t. Here’s why:
Because every 40 seconds in the US, a child becomes missing or is abducted. That’s a total of 765,000 children per year. While family members are responsible for most abductions, a significant 25% are taken by strangers. According to Parents.com, stranger kidnapping occurs primarily at outdoor locations. These types of abductions are most associated with sexual assault and firearms – just BTW.
Because a man looked at my daughter once while shopping at a big box store in a way I will never, ever forget.
Because, Chad (et al), those are the things that chill my bones today.
It isn’t laziness. It’s vigilance. For “some ladies,” a simple trip to the store can mean being aware of your surroundings at all times, determining the perfect amount of freedom—right down the inch—to give your children. Grasping those little hands just in the nick of time when you were a bit off. It often means keeping eyes on them at all times — especially the really little ones. Sometimes being a good parent means putting common sense before common courtesy.
In a perfect world, I would put the cart away. But our world isn’t exactly shipshape quite yet. I’m sorry to have caused such as an upset. But, hopefully, now those abandoned carts won’t seem so outrageous. However, Chad, if you’re looking to be outraged? (Let’s face it, that’s a bit of a hobby for us all these days, right?) Read over those figures again. Let them sink in. Be outraged about that.