Today, I’m so glad that I’m extremely paranoid (thank you, Criminal Minds) and not super naive when it comes to certain things. I’m the first to admit that I’m very gullible. And, I also know that you cannot trust everyone in the world we live in today.
Last night, I was babysitting two young boys: R (8) and B (5). I took them out to dinner and things were great. Now that my brother is 15, I almost forgot how cute young boys are. They’re so hilarious and the sweetest ever! B (the 5 year old) was saying, “Hi ma’am!” to every worker in the back and to everybody that came in. He is darling and is so trusting of everyone.
Then, an older lady walked in (probably 65-70) with a man who appeared to be 45-50 years old. B started waving and saying, “Hi! Hi! Hi!”. I’ll admit, I was trying to get him to stop. The lady walked over to us and said, “Hi. How are you? He is so sweet!”. At this time, I was thinking that this was a cute encounter. She looked at me, looked back at B and R, and then looked at me again and said, “Are they yours? They’re cute!”. What ran through my mind was, “Shit! Do I look old enough to have an 8 year old?”... but I politely responded with, “No ma’am. I’m just the nanny!” It’s kind of a blur in my head now, but she said some other things and walked back to the man and started signing (as in, sign language). *This didn’t strike me as odd until later, which I’ll explain.
When this conversation was going on, we were at the trash can throwing away our food. They proceeded to order (or whatever they were doing) and we walked out of the door. Sweet B, again, started saying, “Bye! Bye! Bye!” Ugh, this kid. He’s so kind! The old lady came to the door and said something, and then asked B for a hug. Again, I’m oblivious right now. In my mind, this is such a sweet confrontation. I even muttered out loud, “Aw!” when they hugged. She asked for his name, he told her, and then she said, “Nice to meet you. I’m Jo.” After she told us her name, she asked for another hug. It was at this very moment that I became a little weirded out. Why would she ask for two hugs?
But, then. She asks me something. And, it’s something I’m so shaken up by still.
She looked at me. And, with a similar tone as when she asked if they were my children, she said, “Ms. Nanny. Would it be okay if I showed B the puppy in my truck?” My heart started pounding, sweet B got so excited, and I had to be the bearer of bad news.
Without hesitation, I shot that down fast. And made the boys speed walk to my car. I pulled out of the parking lot so fast, with tears streaming down my face and my hands shaking (and as I type this, and relive it, I get the same emotions that I did then). The boys were so confused and it broke my heart. In their minds, they just wanted to see a puppy.
Now… who knows? Maybe she was a sweet lady that really did have a puppy in her truck. But, as I was driving away, I saw 3 trucks. None of them had a dog large enough to see. None of them had windows cracked (and the high today was 85).
There are some things I wish I would’ve done differently. I wish I would’ve taken license plate pictures of every truck in the parking lot. I wish I would’ve called the restaurant as soon as I left. I wish I would’ve watched to see what they did after we left.
But one thing that I would not do differently in a million years? Say no to letting B go to her truck. In that very instant, I knew I made the right decision. And, I knew that all of my years of watching Criminal Minds/Law and Order/CSI/etc. paid off.
The moral of the story is… always, always, ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. Don’t trust people, no matter how kind they act or look. It’s a scary world we live in. An evil, sin-filled world, where people do not care. Right now, child trafficking and abduction is at an all time high. And, without a doubt in my mind, this was one of those cases.
Looking back, in my head, there were some “warning signs” – granted, I’m no expert, so take these with a grain of salt. But, the first thing is the sign language. I’ve seen that abductors, etc. have a special way of communicating. In this case, sign language could’ve been the “sign”. When the lady was talking to me, she was signing. But, she was not deaf. So, maybe she was trying to see if I knew sign language? If not, which I don’t, she could then use that as her communication with the man. The second warning sign was her tone. When she asked if they were my children, she had a strange tone in her voice. I should’ve picked up on this immediately and not let B continue talking to or HUG her.
I don’t write this to scare anyone, but to open people’s eyes. It’s happening. All around us. In front of our very own eyes.
And, if this lady was in fact a sweet lady who had a love for children and a puppy in the car, I’m sorry. I just couldn’t risk it.