Brought the kids to their Safety City class (the last class, thank goodness). While they were in class, I decided to walk into town and find a little restaurant for lunch. I walked in the 85 degree heat (in my jeans and cute top) about 1.5 miles and there actually weren't any restaurants right in the heart of town, which surprised me. I thought there'd at least be a diner or something. I just walked back to the car, and was sweating like a beast by this time. Drove to Panera (ugh, just went there the day before). Had a bagel and iced tea. Then went to a frozen custard place and got fat-free sugar-free ice cream before picking up the kids.
The kids went to my parents house for dinner, and Jerry was off work, so we decided to go out. We went to a coney island, and it was SO GOOD. I hadn't eaten there in a couple of years. I got a Patty Melt and deep fried mushrooms, which I shared with Jerry. After we ate, we decided to go to Wal-Mart to get a couple of snacks to bring on the boat with us. The fireworks were at 10 pm, and my parents always take us out in the boat to watch the fireworks over the water.
At Wal-Mart, I saw something that shook me to the core.
Jerry and I saw a display of suckers, and we were picking out which flavors our kids might like, when I heard a little boy (probably about 3 years old) crying kind of hysterically, yelling a name (we'll say 'Michael'... I don't want to use the real name). His mom was yelling for Michael also, looking very worried. I said to Jerry, "Jerry, they're looking for their kid--let's help find him! He's probably scared to death." I have two little boys, so I know how terrifying that can be for both parent and child.
We were at the front of the store, near the women's section of clothes. I was standing on my toes, trying to see over the racks of clothes to see if I could find this little boy. A moment later, a boy of about 4 or 5 was in front of me. I said, "Are you Michael?" with a smile. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man (his dad? Mom's boyfriend? whatever) run up to him, I thought to give him a hug (which is what I would have done in that situation!) Instead he yanked the boy's arm, and the boy fell on the ground. Then the dad, using his FIST, started BEATING the boy in the back (who had curled into a ball on the ground). He was yelling something about staying with them, and not getting lost.
I started screaming, I don't really remember what I was screaming, something about how he (the boy) didn't do anything wrong. Jerry flipped out too, yelling "What the hell is your problem?" etc. Jerry and I were causing such a scene that other people started looking. The man knew he fucked up, you could see it in his face. He got quieter and picked the boy up and threw him in the shopping cart. Then they stood in line to pay. I was trembling and hysterical at what I just saw. It was NOT a "spanking", or even borderline. The man was truly BEATING his little boy. I told Jerry to call the police.
There were tons of people around, but everyone kind of averted their eyes, like it was none of their business. Well, fuck all of them--they are just as bad as the boys father, as far as I'm concerned. There were 2 other people that came up to Jerry and I and were very disturbed by the incident too. We all stood outside waiting for the police. I saw the family leaving, and I followed them to their car. I wrote down the license plate number. The police took almost an hour to show up--seriously. The other two witnesses had left, but I said I'll wait all night if I have to. When the cop showed up, we gave a statement and the license plate number, and then we left. The cop said he was going to view the footage of the surveillance video.
We then went to the kids graduation from Safety City. I was still very shaken up and couldn't stop thinking about what happened. When we were at the boat docks, about to get in the boat, my cell rang and it was the cop. He said he wanted to let me know that he followed up on the incident, and the man was actually on probation for domestic assault! The cop had checked out the little boy, and said he had older bruising around his waist. The dad told the cop it was because the two boys wrestle with each other. The dad also said that he gave his son a "light spanking" at the store. The cop (who has seen these cases numerous times) could see right through the lies. He said that Child Protective Services will be out to check out the house, and the man's probation officer is going to get the report. Most likely, the cop said the man will wind up in court (and we could get subpoenaed).
I'm SO GLAD that we spoke up for the little boy and that we waited around for the police to give a statement. I'm very glad that the cop actually followed up on it and that he called to let me know that he did. I'm extremely angry at all the bystanders who did absolutely nothing except avert their eyes while a little boy was beaten. And I really hope that the asshole gets what he deserves. I wish the boys' mom would leave him, but you could see she was scared and embarrassed about the whole thing.
Anyway, I felt a little better after the cop called. We went out on the boat and fished a little (I caught 5--but mostly silver bass, which we don't keep), then watched the fireworks. By the time we got home is was midnight, which is late for me. Today is definitely back to normal as far as food goes. I ate way too much yesterday.
|Fireworks do not photograph well ;)|
Have you ever witnessed something in which you had to call the police? Today's incident was, by far, the worst for me.