Sunday

Cultural Differences

BADNANNYSIGHTING-1
East Towne Mall, Madison, WI Saturday, 10/20/12 545p - This situation was beyond scary and literally ruined my day, not to mention trip to the mall. As I write this submission, I have worked a total of 46 hours since Monday between 3 jobs and my next day off is Thursday, so yes, I am a bit crabby and tired. I had gotten off work, went tanning and came to the mall to put money on my nephew's game plus purchase some gifts for Sweetest Day. I usually enter through the food court, however, something told me to enter through a different entrance, which I did. As I was walking through the mall (I was a bit lost because I came through a different entrance rather than my usual one) I stopped past the play area located toward the center of the mall. People were walking, parents pushing strollers and young adults hanging out. Typical mall atmosphere of Saturday shoppers, including myself.

I look around and I see a small child, a girl between 2-3 years of age wandering alone. Concerned, I stopped and watched to see if her parents or another caregiver were nearby. She kept calling out for her daddy in a soft voice, and nobody came forward for her. I watched as she walked down the mall, searching for her parents. I was waiting to see if someone would claim her, and nothing happened. I knew something was wrong, so I followed her. She walked all the way down the mall, alone, unsupervised, to JC Penney, which is a long way from the play area. My concern was that she would be kidnapped or run outside the mall, so I grabbed her hand and took her to JC Penney, where their security team was contacted. Their security team contacted mall security. About five minutes had passed since I found her. The six of us-mall security and JC Penney security walked down to the play area, where we searched for her parents. They mentioned they had seen this all the time in the mall, where children wander off and neither team was happy about this situation, as they felt the parents were irrespnsible and negligent. The child was scared and confused, unable to answer our questions about where her parents went. Our thoughts were that someone had abandoned her at the mall, or left the mall, unaware she was gone. Either way, we were concerned for her safety, and waited patiently for someone to step forward.

The mall's policy for lost children is to contact the police after twenty minutes. From the time I found her and turned over to mall security, it had been twenty minutes, and the police were called. All of a sudden, her mother stepped forward. We don't know how long she was alone and unsupervised. After security turned the child over to her mother, I told the mother she needs to keep a better eye on her child. She told me she stepped into a store for a few minutes and left her child alone to pay for her items. I believe she said the child wandered off; she claimed to be unaware she was missing. I told her that was no excuse, that she is lucky her daughter wasn't kidnapped or hit by car. I also told her she is a parent and she needs to act like one, starting with a better job of watching her daughter. Finally, I asked her how she would've felt had her daughter been kidnapped or seriously hurt. I told her there was no excuse to let a child that young wander a busy mall alone, unsupervised. She was from another country, and I am not sure if leaving a child alone is a cultural thing, yet I wanted her to understand how serious this was, because she acted nonchalant about it. As I was talking to her, her husband approached with their older child, having the same attitude about the situation as she did. Perhaps I shouldn't have raised my voice. I was tired, angry and concerned. I hope that she is aware that here in America, we supervise young children, instead of leaving them on their own. - Miss Dee

14 comments:

Lex said...

It probably did have to do with their culture. I'm sure we've all heard about the mom in NY visiting from I think it was Denmark that was eating dinner in a restaurant while her baby slept outside in a stroller. It's extremely dangerous and it blew my mind the charges against her were dropped! And it's happened more than once here. I believe it's normal for moms in Europe to sit in cafes while their kids are left outside and why they do that is just beyond me.

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NannyTastic said...

I am in no way of condoning the act of a woman leaving a child in the play area or not paying attention while the young one wondered the mall. I do have a question though. What about parents/ care givers leaving a child in a car to pay for gas or run to a library drop box thirty feet away? (never in extreme heat or extreme cold)

NYCsitter said...

Dear Lex, Im European-born and raised there-moved to the US 6 yrs ago. So the "it happened more than once" makes you automatically think "I believe it's normal for moms in Europe to sit in cafes while their kids are left outside"...little judgmental, aren't we? Let me just point out that having social services coming to somebody's house taking the children away it's not that popular over there but is is over here. Ask yourself why. Btw, I really cannot stand sterotypes...Although I am astonished for these parents' careless behavior towards that little girl, I don't think it has to be a "cultural thing" (where were the parents from anyway?)-it's just horrible parenting. OP writes: "They [the security guys]mentioned they had seen this all the time in the mall, where children wander off and neither team was happy about this situation, as they felt the parents were irrespnsible and negligent." So again, it's not a "cultural thing," it's simply careless parenting.

OceanBlue said...

I dated a man from Denmark for a time even went to visit his family. Often saw babies left in carriages outside cafes and such, and no one seemed bothered by it or act as if it where a strange behavior.

I don't believe your concern was wrong, but in the future you might want to be careful grabbing kids even if your heart is in the right place.

RBTC said...

OP - YOU ARE A HERO !!!

google James Bulger - little boy whose mom lost him in a shopping mall with tragic results

Op - sometimes heroes are not appreciated but thank God for you

Bethany said...

I'm glad things turned out well for the child this time.

I understand your concerns but your lecture most likely did very little to change their beliefs. She'll probably cast you as a paranoid American.


Straying a bit off topic I find cultural attitudes towards child rearing fascinating.

Blog Fan said...

I was going to say the same thing, Bethany. I'm truly fascinated myself by how other cultures raise their children, what works for them and what doesn't. My family is completely mutt, lol, my mom married 4x. One brother is German, one brother is Asian, one sister is Puerto Rican and I'm Irish. I guess you could say my mom liked accents and traveled a lot. She reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor. Anyway, her husbands all had vast differences in their beliefs for child-rearing. Some extremely strict, others seemingly on the brink of neglect. Oh, the stories I could tell!

Blog Fan said...

Oh and to the OP, regardless of this being a parent sighting, it's a good sighting. I commend you for turning it in. If anything, we have a very interesting discussion going!

RBTC said...

Blog Fan the rainbow !

Lyn said...

Oh my gosh! OP, I cannot imagine all of the horrible terrible things that could have happened if anyone other than you were keeping their eyes on this child. Thank God you were around!!! I don't want to start down the cultural discussion, but I will say this, EVERYONE needs to do a better job of looking after their kids. All of the horrible things on the news each night are just a tiny splice of the predators who we share our lives with. This little one could have easily been just another news story.

Caring Mom All Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
momoftwo said...

Can I just say for the millionth time how much I love you? I don't mean to be creepy but you are so fantastic! I am compairing nannys I interview to you and I haven't even met you Lyn! :)

Lyn said...

:) Thank you for your kind words! There are many great Nannies out there! Sometimes it just takes a while to hunt them down! Good luck on your search Honey!!