Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Squeezing Skittles

Travel with me a few hours back in time to tonight at the check-out in Wal-Mart (pretty glamorous location, hey?).  Here’s the scene:

I’m waiting for the cashier as I bounce a crying baby on my hip and try to wrangle my wallet out of a purse that is buried under hundreds of bags in the cart.  Suddenly, a little Hispanic boy in bright yellow t-shirt wanders past me holding a bag of skittles.  
That’s a little strange, I think, is he alone?  
He couldn’t have been much older than two and seems a little confused as he roams around the check-out area by himself.  It’s as if time stood still and all the noises and people disappeared as I stared at this little lost boy.  One thought pulsates through my mind,

What if this child were mine?  

What if one of my boys wandered off and no one helped him find me again?  The “what if” questions were almost unbearable to even consider.  I didn’t care how incontinent it was at the moment, it was time for action.  

I hurry up to the boy as he is about to disappear down another aisle and crouch down as I hold onto Gabby, “Where’s your mom, honey?”  When he stares blankly at me, I realize he may not speak English.

“Donde esta tu mama mi hijo?  Come se llama?”  His brown eyes are big with worry as he shrugs in response.

We hold hands and I walk him to the service counter, explaining the situation to the workers and entrusting him to their care.  I head back to the cashier, who is waiting for me to pay, all the while watching the scared toddler who is sitting on a bench by the service area.  I then see a frantic mother from a few aisles away break into a run when she spots her lost son.  

Nothing beat the pure joy I felt as I saw a happy little boy with a bag of skittles clutched in his tiny hands jump into his mommy’s arms.

I don’t have to just wonder how I would have felt if that child were mine because there was a time when that child was mine.  

A few months ago, an elevator closed on Gideon before we could get on with him and he got lost at our courthouse in town.  It was the kindness of a stranger who saw a confused little boy and gently took his hand and kept him safe until they could locate me.  

I can’t even imagine what this world would be like if we were all too busy to take the hand of a little kid squeezing skittles to help them find their way home.

It’s the courthouse workers, Wal-Mart shoppers and many other kind strangers that make up the community we need to raise our children.  It truly does take a village to raise a child...and it doesn't hurt to have some skittles too!


  1. This just happened to me (helping a lost child) the other day. It is such a scary thing. How awesome that you were able to communicate with him even though he didn't speak English. You were definitely 'Jesus with skin on'.
    Thanks for sharing. ~Jessica

  2. Tara, This story brings back a memory from a lil over a year ago, I was walking thru Magic Kingdom one day, right before the babies were born, There were thousands of people walking around as they were dispercing from a parade. Being pregnant at the time I was walking a little slower than normal when I saw a lil boy about 4 years old, in a red shirt, standing in the middle of Main Street looking around in panic, tears streaming down his face. I walked over too him and knelt down and asked where his mommy was and the look he gave me I will never forget. The fear in his eyes was astounding. I told him to stay with me and we would find his mother...as I took that little hand I couldn't imagine the fear I would feel if I lost my child in a place that crowded. I walked him over to lost Children and the Disney Staff took over but the little boy didn't want me walking away, but sadly they take him into the office being as kind to him as I would have been, and I headed down the street...a couple minutes passed when I saw a woman with frantic eyes searching the crowd and calling her son in their native language, without hesitation I walked up to her and I asked her what her son was wearing and in broken english she told me he was wearing a red shirt, I told her to follow me as I had just left her son. After walking back to the office and watching a very tearful reunion, mine included, She just stood up and hugged me so tight and I looked down and the lil boy was grinning ear to ear. It was a day I will never forget. I'm so happy that it was a happy ending because I know my heart couldn't take it if I ever lost one of my children for any amount of time. Kimberly R

  3. Goodness, I must be emotional today because I'm tearing up just reading these beautiful stories. I totally had a similar incident when Marissa was a young girl and she got lost on an elevator while we were in a courthouse in Indiana. Oh goodness I was so scared and she was alright but I took the stairs two at a time and beat her to the second floor before the doors opened. She has been so afraid of elevators since then that she makes sure everyone is on before she lets the doors close, poor kid.
    Good thing God puts us in special spots with listening ears at special times to help those who are lost and wandering looking for help.

  4. You all are so wonderful...it feels great to know there are fellow-moms like you all that take the time to care for a scared child. Makes our world a BETTER place to live. Thanks for sharing!

    Rachel, Gid is also quite nervous and does the same thing on elevators now too! Live and learn...wow.


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