Park Pilfering*

I had an interesting experience at the park last week.

I wasn’t going to even write about it as it is such a small thing, but something about it is still bothering me a little and I guess I’m curious to know what you think.

After P’s hives finally subsided, I wanted to take my stir-crazy children to the park. I let S choose which one, and she chose the park closest to her school, where several of the local day care providers frequent with their charges. I’ve gotten to know a couple of them over the past year, and they are all very nice.

The trip in itself was a bit of a mess as S decided that she did not want to go to the park five minutes after we arrived. I spent most of my time juggling chasing after P and trying to help her improve her mood (which she did not) and H was left to his own devices. He has two yellow dump trucks that we bring to the park with our “park bag” (buckets, shovels, rakes and the like) and has no problem playing on his own in the wood chips. The day cares were all there playing, and there were several other boys around H’s age to play with.

After an hour, I had had enough of S’s mood and P’s antics and decided to call it a day. I asked H to help clean up the park bag and grab his trucks while I loaded P into the stroller. He loaded everything in while I helped S get her helmet on and get her bike ready to ride home. I have a double jogging stroller that has an amazing storage space on the bag, that is closed by a velcro flap. H put everything in the back and closed the flap before coming over to get his bike.

As I was helping him with his helmet a few feet away, one of the daycare ladies walked over, opened the flap to my stroller and began rummaging around in the back. She pulled out one of the dump trucks and began to walk away without a word.

I watched her go into my stroller in a bit of disbelief, and as she grabbed one of the trucks, I finally called out:

“Oh, I’m sorry, but that’s one of my son’s park trucks.”

She waved it up at me, showed me a couple of dirt marks that were apparently old initials, and responded,

“Actually it’s mine.” And then she started walking away. No offering of the possibility that my son had grabbed it by mistake, no asking permission to or explaining WHY she wanted to look in my stroller for her missing toy, nothing.

I immediately went to the back to check, and sure enough, my son had accidentally grabbed an extra truck while he was hastily cleaning up. He had the exact same truck, minus the dirt marks. An honest mistake. He and I both apologized immediately and she waved it off without really saying anything back. It wasn’t as if he was trying to sneak it home… that’s just not H’s way.

It was such a little thing, but it has bothered me more than I care to admit. Yes, we were in the wrong. H accidentally grabbed the wrong truck when he was trying to clean up.

That being said, I would never go rummaging around in someone else’s stroller looking something without asking permission first, regardless of the situation. When I’m out, my stroller is essentially my purse. It has my phone, keys, sometimes my wallet, and other personal items along with the park toys. If the situation had been reversed and I thought someone else’s child had grabbed my toy by mistake (or not) I would have gone up to the adult, explained my thoughts and then asked if they could look for it… or if I could check quickly myself. To me, that’s just basic manners.

I don’t know. Part of me thinks it’s no big deal, but the other part is really bothered by the fact that this woman thought it was okay to just go rummaging around in my stroller without a) explaining why she was looking, b) explaining what she was looking for, or c) asking if it was ok to look.

I know it’s such a small thing, and I would never mention it again when I see her around the neighborhood. But still, the experience just made me think a little.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Would this have bothered you?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *