Do you pass snap judgments against people?
I think everyone does at one point or another, but I make a concentrated effort to not do it.
Yesterday, that was not true.
My youngest and I were at the check-out last night, at about 7:00 p.m. We had two cart fulls of groceries (we shop bi-weekly and need big bags of salt, so that's the norm). It takes a little time to check out two carts. For that whole entire time, there was a very small child running around at the front of the store. The child was old enough to walk (run), but not old enough to talk (or even tell if he/she was a girl or boy). You know the age. The cute 'awwww' age.
The child was in pajamas and barefoot.
- Snap judgment #1: Oh my gosh, who brings their child to the grocery store in pajamas and barefoot.
- Snap judment #2: Oh my gosh, who lets their kid run around unattended like that???
The child went into the photo studio that was (closed) dark and was playing with things, ran around the front where the people were checking out, and then followed my son and I to the mechanical pony ride at the front of the store. There was already a child on the pony so we decided to go to the Claw Machine instead. My 5-yr old said, 'Mom, that baby's following us.'
I made a mental note to tell my son in the car all of the reasons why you don't let a child run around like that.
We got to the door, and it beeped. That meant the person on duty had to check our receipt & find what caused the problem. Sometimes that takes awhile. Note the time frame the child was still running around.
The child then ran towards the exit doors that open automatically. It's a big super store grocery store, with no sidewalk out front. You immediately step into a very busy parking lot, the kid is two-ft. tall, and it's dark.
A young woman, early twenties, with a small child in tow screams out, "Somebody stop that baby!"
Everyone assumed ( I assumed anyway ) that it was her child, and that since she was running like that and had left her own small child unattended in the busy store to do so, that it was her child and she could easily get there faster than any of us could.
- Snap judgment #3 Oh my gosh, why doesn't she watch her child better!
I'm still standing at the door having the cart searched for the offending object that needed debugged (it was hubby's Prilosec, by the way ;) ), and it becomes clear that the lady who ran out in the parking lot was NOT the child's mother, she was however, instantly a hero! I told her that was a super good catch. I don't think she heard me, she was too frantic over what had just happened. She without a doubt saved that baby from huge potential harm.
A). It was bitterly cold and the child was in pajamas, no socks or shoes, no coat...
B). It was dark.
C). The parking lot was RIGHT there and is ALWAYS very busy.
The list could go on an on.
And still nothing or no one came around looking for a lost child. I imagined a mom scared and crying in the store, looking for her kid.
I hope that was the case. Like we've discussed here before, something scary happens to us as parents at least once in life, sometimes more.
A million thoughts went through my head when I was loading the groceries. Thoughts such as, I wonder if that parent will ever know how close to danger her child came? I hope the parent finds the child quickly. I hope a million good things happen to that lady who saved that child. And so on and so forth.
Then I felt a profound sense of relief that the baby didn't get hurt or worse.
And then the thoughts about my role came into play,
"Oh my gosh, I didn't even sense that there was NO parent around."
"Why didn't I do something?"
"Why didn't I even look around to see where mom/dad were when the baby went into the empty photo studio (clue number 9 bazillion that something was off).
And lastly I thought,
Oh my gosh, what a jerk I am to make so many snap judgments. I know better.
I hope it was a happy ending. It was definitely one of those moments that makes you reflect. And not just me. Getting in the car for school today, I was putting little man in his car seat and he said, "Remember that baby who lost his mom?" "Maybe moms should just leave their baby in the car when they go shopping." And then I had to explain to him the reasons why you couldn't do that, lol.
All is well that ends well though, and the baby definitely ended up safe.
How about you, are you quick to make snap judgments against people, or do you keep that instinct in check?