Friday, December 3, 2010



I was walking down a street here in Old Town (Chicago) 
not really paying attention when the back door of an SUV 
opened.  I probably  wouldn't have noticed it, but a little 
boy, 4 years old I'd guess, jumped out.  

A woman was sitting behind the wheel and speaking
on the cell phone and didn't notice what had happened.
Without thinking I noticed the car's engine was running.
The boy for some reason ran round behind the car,
and then to my horror, the white tail lights came on.

I don't know if the car actually started backing up,
or I just imagined it, but I started shouting,
"Stop!  Stop! and ran back to her window and started
tapping on the glass.

I must have not frightened her, because she rolled
down her window, and clearly annoyed, asked me,
"What is it?'   

Suddenly I didn't know what to say.  If I said, " You're
about to run over and kill your child," it would amount
to saying, "You're a bad mother."

"Your back door's open."  She looked back: Oh my God!
She jumped out of the car.  Her first reaction when she 
saw her son was safe was to let out an immense sigh of
relief through her whole body; then she ran over
half hugged-half grabbed  the boy, upbraiding him for 
what a bad boy he had been, how much he had scared
Mommy.  The phone was still in her hand, but I don't
think realized it.

She didn't look back at me, which I thought was 
sensitive of her, because I was embarrassed to have 
witnessed the scene and would not have known
what to say.  I came here and met you.

--My best recreation of a story I overheard at
The Starbucks at North & Wells in Chicago.

The speaker was a young man in his twenties
I'd guess.  He was talking to another guy much
more casually dressed.

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