Today I got a rather cheesy email forward, the premise of which was that sometimes seemingly bad things happen in our life for a reason. Maybe it is to keep us from harm, or perhaps to provide a means of helping others. But sometimes seemingly insignificant events can have grand consequences. I think that such an event happened to me today.
This morning, I overslept. I had set the alarm to get up for a 4:30 am run, but rolled over in bed to realize that it was 6:20. I typically leave for work at 6:30, so I jumped out of bed and rushed to get out of the door ASAP. In my haste, I forgot to take my lunch with me (I typically "pack" to save money and calories). So, when noon rolled around, I set out in search of lunch. I found myself at one of my favorite places to eat (which shall remain nameless, because searches with this name happen to be the #1 way people reach my site). I pulled into a spot, and as I got out of my car I noticed that there was a baby alone inside the car next to me. He appeared to be about 4-6 months old, and was sitting inside an infant carrier. There was no one else in the car. The doors and windows were all closed and locked, and the car was not running. It was in the 90s outside, and surely hotter in the car. The poor baby was red and sweaty, and looked very uncomfortable.
I grabbed my cell phone and immediately dialed 911 - but before I could hit the "send" button, I decided that I should go inside the restaurant instead to see if I could find his parent. I figured that would get him out of the car more quickly. There was also an older child's car seat, so I went inside looking for someone with a toddler. There were 2 families fitting that description. I ran over to both, but neither family claimed to be the parent. So, I just started going person to person, asking if they belonged to the baby in the car. Towards the front of the line, I finally found the mother, and when I asked the the baby was hers, she had a very strange reaction. She first screamed "OMG" and then ran outside to the car. Had he been my baby, I would have taken him out of the carrier to make sure he was ok, checked him over, and probably started sobbing. Then, I would have gotten in the car and driven away, because there is no way I would want to see any of the people inside the restaurant again). But this lady simply took the carrier out of the car, and carried the baby back inside the restaurant. She returned to her former place in line, and ordered her burrito like nothing happened - all the while holding the carrier with the baby safely strapped inside. I did notice her touch the baby a couple of times, but she seemed strangely detached.
I was more upset than she was. I probably shook for the next 15 minutes. In retrospect, I think I should have just called 911, because seeing her reaction made me worry for the child. Part of me even wonders if she had left him in the car on purpose, so she didn't have to carry him inside while she picked up lunch. But even if she didn't, who in the hell forgets their child in the hot car? Especially the day after a high-profile case where a mother plead guilty in the death of her child that resulted from her leaving him in the hot car. I'm still shaking my head, and I can't help but to wonder what if I hadn't seen the baby, and his mother decided to eat inside the restaurant.
I'm a bit grateful that I overslept today.
(I'm posting this from my email. I'm having issues with my internet, but I think I can still email.)