I have debated whether or not I would blog about why I called the police today, but decided that I should. It's just too important not to.
So here goes:
I ran down to the store to grab baby wipes and a couple other things this afternoon. I was in the store for maybe 20-30 minutes. Even though I wasn't getting much, one of the things I was buying was a 4th of July outfit for Bria, who has a future as a fashion designer or the fashion police. Some notable quotes from our outing today were, "I don't want to look CUTE, I want to look COOL!" and "I am not a cutie, I am a cooooooool girl!" So, understandably, that part took a little longer than I had hoped.
Also, the lines were pretty long. Must have been the day before the 4th get everything you need for your barbecue rush. So, when I finally got out to my incredibly hot car I was very tired and really just wanted to go home and sit down in the air conditioning and contemplate how I ever survived living in the Phoenix area. Unfortunately, that didn't get to happen, at least not right away.
Because, as I was climbing into my van, I noticed that the car parked next to me had three kids inside. A baby, a 3-ish year old, and maybe a 5-ish year old, if I judge by the sizes of my own children. The windows were all rolled up, and since it was over 100 degrees I freaked out a little and immediately called 911. When I got out to read the license plate number to dispatch, I realized the car was running, so at least they weren't all going to die in there. However, that's just as negligent, and when I told the dispatcher that the car was on after all, she said, "Well, that's good, but they still can't be in there alone and an officer is on the way."
I had to stay and flag down the police car so he knew where in the vast parking lot we were, and when he got out and looked in the car, he was obviously angry. He asked me a couple questions and then told me I could leave. Another officer drove up just as I was leaving, and they opened the door to the car and talked to the oldest child. (Also, the two older kids didn't have any sort of car seat/booster, and the 5-ish year old girl was sitting in the front seat, which is a whole 'nother ball of wax that I may have tsk-tsked, but not called the police over.)
I feel a little bad that I most definitely ruined the day of the person who was in charge of those children. I know as well as anyone else just how hard it is to take 3 small kids into the store if you only have to grab a couple things. I know we all make mistakes. And I certainly would never want to walk out to the parking lot and be greeted by two cops because I made an error in judgment. I worried about all those things as I was talking to the dispatch, but I never hesitated in making the call, because I have seen first hand the devastation that can happen when a child is left in a car on a hot summer day. Not to mention things like kidnapping and having your kid decide to put the car in gear just to see what happens.
I stand by my decision to call, and I sincerely hope someone out there will make better choices where their children are concerned after this.
I certainly learned quite a few things from my experience today. One of them being that my hands shake and my heart beats incredibly fast when I call 911. Hopefully I'll not have to ever do it again.