I believe in living life to the fullest. Get out there, go balls to the wall and do something, experience all this world has to offer. Enrich yourself. Be it good or bad, just do it.
It’s very rare that I have a regret in life. I’ve left well paying jobs and taken minimum wage gigs. I’ve moved from relatively nice digs to somewhat seedy neighborhoods in the past. Have I ever had a regret about doing it? No. I just dust myself off and move on.
I regret something I did tonight. Or rather, something I didn’t do. I was walking into a local Army-Navy store picking up some new duds. It’s an old Ames store with a little entrance way you’d find on most older department stores. You know, the place populated with a few stray flyers, a wandering shopping cart and some assorted bubblegum machines. There was a man and woman with their son waiting for the brief rain/snow shower to stop before going out to their car. They were your stereotypical white trash family… greasy hair, kid with a dirty face, dad’s gut hanging out under a tattered jacket. As I was walking towards the store, I could see the young boy was fooling around with the gumball machine. The mother was relatively freaking out about it. She was yelling so loud, I could hear here through the closed doors, over the sound of rain and everything.
Then she opened hand slapped the boy across the face. Not once, but twice. Whack. Smack.
The boy just turned away and continued doing whatever he was doing that she found so horribly wrong. He didn’t cry. But he looked very sad. She went back to screaming at the top of her smoke damaged lungs.
It took every ounce in my being not to say something to those parents. It took every ounce of my soul to refrain from saying to the mother, “Hey fuckface, knock it off, he’s a young boy.” It took every ounce of dignity for me not to haul off and slug the woman. I’ve never hit a woman (or anyone for that matter) in my life and she wasn’t worth ruining my record. But I should have done something. I should have said something. I should have called someone. And I regret that I didn’t do anything.
Whomever you are, young man, know that I’ll pray a little harder for you tonight. And whomever you are, you beast of parents, know that I have my eye out for you and your kind.
Moat people would have just looked the other way and never even given it a second thought. I had a moment once, like that. I still regret it. Hopefully this kid has a great school counselor and teachers that care. That stuff doesn’t go away. If they abuse him, sooner or later somebody will see or the kid will get PO’ed and tell.
I am now a mandated reporter. Ethically I have to report it. You can do a few things in those instances. Watch to see if they go to a car and write down the liscence number. Tell the store clerk what you saw and ask if they have a name of the customer. They may tell you they can’t give that information out. Just lie and tell them you a re a teacher and a mandated reporter of child abuse and you need their help in getting a call in to the right people. The number you can call, and you don’t have to give out your name, is #1-800-342-3720. This is NY states child abuse and maltreatment hotline. The will decide, based on the info you can give, is the parents need to be followed up on.
Thank you for thinking about that little boy. I became a counselor to help kids like that. You would be surprised at how resilient kids can be. He may be one tough cookie.