Lady, You Are So Lucky I’m Not a Pedophile

I could have stolen your son today.

From the moment I saw him I thought him handsome.  He seems to be about four years old, and full of energy.  Playing with the magnetic letters in the children’s section of the library, his wary brown eyes followed me as I sat at a table and opened a book.

There were several children there.  Most played for awhile, then their parents would walk over or they’d run to find them.  He stayed, alone.  I watched him interact with the other children, and I noticed that he didn’t share well.   He was somewhat aggressive, too – quick to grab and push and grapple over the things he wanted.

One of the other children appealed to me for assistance, so after looking around and seeing that he seemed to be unsupervised I gently redirected your son by offering to read him a story.  He and another boy grabbed books from the shelves, and I read them all.  He soaked it all in, and we talked about things he liked.  I’d sometimes place my hand on his shoulder or back when he got really animated.  It was nice. I kept a lookout for a Mom or another caretaker, but in the ninety minutes I sat there no one came to check on him.

I began to suspect that he might be alone, and so I periodically asked him where his Mom was.  He said she was working, and I found myself wondering if someone had dropped him off and left him.  Later he told me that you were in fact there, and I wondered if you worked at the library and just had no child care that day.

Still, I knew I could walk out with your son and you would never know.  Whether you were there or not you weren’t paying attention.  You were oblivious to the stranger who had taken an interest in your child and spent over an hour watching him, talking to him, interacting with him.  Building trust and familiarity.

You are so lucky I’m not a pedophile.

As I gathered my own son and prepared to leave, I asked your son to show me who he had come to the library with.  He walked over to you, sitting at a computer on the other side of the library, your back to the children’s area.  Not an employee, just pre-occupied with the computer game on your screen.

I could have stolen your son today.

It would have been so easy.

Please, do better.  Your son needs you.  And I need to be able to sleep tonight.


4 Responses to “Lady, You Are So Lucky I’m Not a Pedophile”

  1. Good Fountain Says:

    That makes me feel sick. I wonder how often tragedies have happened because of a parent not paying attention.

  2. Patty Says:

    That is horrible, and if something would have happened she would have been one of those moms that said I just turned my back for a minute.

  3. copyeditorsdesk Says:

    Gosh. How disturbing. Sometimes you wonder how kids survive to adulthood at all.

  4. GrannyAnnie Says:

    Did you say anything to her at all? Perhaps it was the ADULT that needed re-directing. Sometimes we all get absorbed in things and it only feels like “just a minute”. While I am glad that you reminded all of us that it is so easy to lose track, I am curious if you, knowing the danger that boy is in, did something directly to bring Mom back to reality. It’s very hard to confront others. Or to find a gentle way to say something that still gets the point across. But that little boy was counting on you. Maybe tomorrow Mom will go back to the library and it won’t be you that takes time with him. Mom will still be oblivious. Little boy will be the unlucky one. I know it’s hard to say something. Nobody wants to risk getting a face full of indignant Mom, or risk a scene, or seem judgemental. Maybe there are two lessons here. One for Mom, and one for those of us reluctant to say something (I am one of those, too.)

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