You see two small children in a shopping cart in a parking lot. WWYDW?

Saw a very interesting, actually, alarming thing today, which has become the What Would You Do Wednesday topic.  We were leaving an appointment, Yannick was attempting to back out of his parking spot but could not because a car had blocked his way.  It had come to a dead stop directly behind him, when a man jumped out of the passenger seat, in a suit, with his cellphone in hand.  Walking away from the car, phone up recording something that we could not see.  It didn’t take long for the driver to realize that we were trying to get out of our spot, they pulled ahead, and we proceeded in the direction where the man had gone.  The lane exiting the parking lot was also blocked by a Ford Expedition.  We were wondering what the hell was going on with these “drunk drivers” when we finally saw what had caused the man to jump out of his car, and the Ford to stop dead in it’s tracks.

There in a live lane, albeit a parking lot, was one of those large Costco shopping carts.  In the cart, at the bumper of a parked car were two small children, alone, in the seat section.  They couldn’t have been any older than one, and three.  They were small.  Small enough to be sitting in the cart, and not standing beside.  The man was recording what he saw.  Why?  I’m not exactly sure.

As we made our way slowly toward the cart, the parking lot was on a bit of an angle, for drainage, we began to think:  the cart could begin to travel away from the car without any notice.  And that’s when we noticed what the man must have taken the most issue with.  Not that the person in charge of those two might have been getting another child out of the car, which was why the two appeared to be unattended.  No.  What we saw was that a woman was sitting in the drivers seat, legs swung out, on her phone.  She had put her children, or maybe not her children, in the cart and then climbed back into the drivers seat and got on her phone…

Are you kidding me??  WTAF??  Who DOES THAT?

I guess the man was thinking the exact same thing which is why he got out of his car and recorded the entire incidence, and got the plate number while he was it, I’m sure.  By the time we got past the car, we saw that he and the woman were now exchanging words.  What they were talking about I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure it was along the same lines of what I’d be asking her had it been me to come upon it first.

So, there you have it friends, if you witnessed this, What Would You Do about it???

a)  get out of your car, approach her and ask her WTAF she’s doing??

b)  don’t get involved, but drive up to the car and get her plate details and photograph the children then report her to child services??

c)  get out of your car and stand beside the children in the cart to make sure they and their cart don’t roll away, without saying anything at all to the woman until she noticed you there, taking care of HER children.  Ensuring their safety??

d) as always, the last option, do nothing at all.  Drive away, hope for their safety but choose to not become involved in something that has nothing to do with you??

As always I look forward to hearing your choices, and any new options you provide.  Happy What Would You Do Wednesday!!


  1. I’ve never seen this before; sometimes small kids running unattended in store parking lots. Definitely do something to make certain the children are safe. A second person could check on the caretaker, who may not be the child’s parent. Probably it should be reported unless there’s some other emergency going on (the caretaker is ill). I work in a university library and I remember being horrified to see a baby, barely old enough to sit up, being perched on top of a photocopier. I approached the caretaker, a babysitter, immediately, to get the child down. Another time a librarian had to intervene on our balcony because a small child climbed up on the rail and mom wouldn’t do anything. Sigh. And if it’s a child or dog in a hot car, call the police.

  2. I would have wheeled the car over to right in front of the Mom and said “I believe these are YOURS!” in a stern voice. Gets the kids out of the traffic lane and near their Mom. That’s probably where I would leave it, because you don’t ever really know anyone else’s story; for all we know she was distracted because a call just came reporting a death in the family or some other tragedy.

  3. Run over the the children, make sure they’re safe and when mom finally notices tell her you didn’t notice her and thought the kids were alone. I personally am not confrontational at all but I couldn’t just walk away from that.

  4. For me, a combination of two of your choices. I would go to the cart, and wheel it closer to where she was sitting. Then I might say something along the lines of, “I’m sure you couldn’t notice from where you are, but traffic is getting pretty heavy, and I was afraid these two might roll away, and be hurt. This way, you can keep a better eye on them.” Then I’d leave. But, rest assured, before I did all that, I would have documented the entire situation, and my next act would be to dial the police. Such precious gifts to be treated in such a careless fashion!

  5. I don’t know about everyone else but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I think we live in such a high blame and reactive society anymore people are often crucified before the details emerge. Perhaps this lady has a family member that is in critical health and that call was pertinent to answer, or maybe she is a single mother that just took a job interview and answering that call could change so much for her for the better and missing it would be devastating – her judgment could have been clouded for varying reasons that no one knows but everyone assumes the worst for.

    “Believe nothing you hear and only half that you see”.

  6. I would most definitely do A and hope she didn’t give me attitude. If she did, I’d call the Police immediately after taking a picture of the situation and her license plate. Most definitely!

  7. Children should not be placed in such danger because of an adults stupidity. It makes you wonder what other danger situations they could placed in. I would most likely choose Option C to get her attention and also to ensure the children’s safety.

  8. I could go with C … and I have gone with C in the past. I’ve had a very similar experience and that’s exactly what I did. I thought the welfare of the child came first and, if need be, I could always call 911 while I stood there. I didn’t need to call anyone, but boy did that woman get an earful when she came back to find me standing with her child. Unbelievable.

    I stand firm on C.

  9. I would find it hard to be civil. That said, I wouldn’t want to scare the children, so standing by the cart until noticed sounds like something I might do, for about ten seconds. If she hadn’t noticed me by then, I don’t think I would hold back. No shouting (again, don’t want to scare the kids) but certainly a pointed comment about maybe it not being a good time to be on the phone?

  10. C+A: I would ensure that the children were safe, but also get her attention ASAP.

    I might modulate my language, seeing as there are impressionable ears in the cart, but she would be in NO doubt as to my feelings. And I would let her explain herself, because there might be a reason for her lack of attention (unwise as it is), and as you’ve said before: walk in someones shoes before jumping to conclusions about their motives.

    I’m happy, though, that someone was watching out for these kids, because not caring should never be the option!

  11. For this one, I think I would do C. I am not very good with confrontation, wish I was better. But I could not leave two children unattended in harm’s way.

  12. Get involved. Do the right thing. Care for those children when their mother absolutely isn’t. Does she need help (probably not but oh that phone is so important). Ask her!
    No phone is worth risking your loved ones’ lives for, you own life, or that of strangers. My gosh, life is too short!
    Love your children every day and tell them you love them. Tell your spouse how proud you are of them! They can’t hear that enough. Love your family. Eat the ice cream.
    So what if your belly has a wobble, or you have a wrinkle or 20, Get the cute shoes. Live each day to the best of your abillity. Pay attention. Be in the now instead of “if only I had…(insert whatever here, like watch your children).”

  13. Definitely pulling out my phone wouldn’t be the first thing.

    We miss so much of actual real life trying to record it on our phones. Nothing worse then seeing a real life moment “sports BTW, cause that’s me” and seeing everyone recording versus watching it and actually living in the moment.

    I’m definitely a mix of A and C sis. 🙂

  14. I think I would have had to say something. While I am not a fan of confrontation I get ” my back up” when children and/ or animals are at risk. I may have even started to wheel the kids away just to get her attention. Tjid would be after I took a picture of her license. If this is a babysitter, the parent would want to know. If it’s a parent, well, now that’s a different question. If they don’t care about their kids, do they deserve children ?

  15. Oh, HELL no!!!! These are the kind of parents I cannot stand! I would have grabbed the woman’s phone and thrown it across the parking lot. This is part of the entitlement/instant gratification characteristics that is defining this generation of parents. These are the parents who have to tie a ribbon around their little finger to remember NOT to leave their children in a hot car, but, you can bet they don’t forget their cell phones!!! These are the kind of moments that make my husband cringe, because, he knows what’s coming next as I have absolutely no patience for those who put children in danger due to stupidity.

  16. I’d do A. and probably end up in jail for slapping her silly! It amazes me how many parents leave their children unattended. In shopping carts, in parked cars, a lone in the toy dept. I’d be so afraid someone would snatch my kid and I would never see them again, except maybe on a morgue slab. I watch my 5 dogs better than most parents.
    Maybe because I never had children I’m a little more critical, but the stuff I’ve seen in my 45 yrs working retail makes my blood run cold. When I was a general manager of 3 video stores(the largest in a strip mall with a grocery store from a large chain) I usually was in the big one on Friday nights. 3 employees and myself. I usually was in the office doing paper work and answering the phone, but kept an eye on the floor too. Just like clock work a woman would come in on Friday night, drop her kids(2 – about 3 yrs and 5 yrs.) off at the “kids section” where we had a table and chairs, small TV with a kids movie playing, coloring books, crayons and some small toys. She would leave the store and go over to the grocery store for about an hour and a half and do her groc. shopping, stop at the liquor store, then stop at either pizza place or Chinese place, go put all the stuff in the car and then come get her kids. She wasn’t even a member of our store. So I didn’t know her name or address. Finally, about 2 months of me chasing these kids around the store I called the State Police and they sent an officer down. He took all the info and stopped her when she went to her car and talked sternly to her and took a report. Damn if the following Fri. she dropped the kids off again. I called Child Protection myself and they sent someone down and just took the kids. When she came back for them I told her where to find them. She threw a tantrum like you would not believe. I had to escort her out of the store. Never saw her again.
    Then when I owned my own video store in little downtown Duanesburg, a little po dunk of a town with maybe 100 people in the main part of town. I had a woman come in(Friday evening) with 4 kids all under 10 yrs, the littlest was Jason who was about 3 yrs. and let them run all over the store. It was a decent size store, little smaller than a Blockbuster. One employee was on break so it was just me and my other part timer. We were packed and all of a sudden Janice goes “Holy Mother of God” and jumped up on the counter on her butt, slid around and ran and scooped this 3 yr old, Jason(I’ll never forget his name) off the top of the fixture. He was running back and forth on a 5 ft. high, 20 ft long fixture. If he had fallen off he would have been badly hurt. He had pulled the little table in the kids section over, put a chair on top of that and had climb the last two shelves to get up there. And where was the mother? Looking at the new releases in a world of her own. She had no idea where her kids were or what they were doing. My front door was only 50 ft from a major highway that Walmart trucks and other trucks passed at 40 mph constantly. If that kid had gone out the door and into Route 20 he’d have been dead. And what did the mom do? Nothing. Told him not to do it again and went back to looking at movies while I watched the kids.
    Yup work in a store and you eventually go bat shit crazy!

  17. First it’s another great example to challenge folks to consider how much they ‘get involved.’
    Fact: I found out this past summer that the Child Help Line can also be used to report any circumstance where there is concern for a child or children’s safety. I had to report an instance and was unable to contact a Social Worker (why are they so unavailable to the public with a 1-800 number for linking up in Canada with a local family services I’ve no idea) but ended up through speaking to local police to call the Help Line. Which I did as they then contact the local social or family services. I now carry their number in my wallet. In this circumstance, I would go over and move the cart to beside the woman sitting in the car. You’re not touching the children so not breaking the law. Would then just interrupt the woman and tell her the cart could have moved away. I also would have taken down the license number and reported this as the woman could be a nanny, an auntie, or even an older sister – not the parent. In that case the parent would be notified.

  18. Definitey c. stand with the kids until Mom comes to her senses although not sure just how long that would taken, WTAF As I have aged I have stopped worrying so much about ‘what would they think?’ It is the kids who need to be the focus. And keeping them safe is more important than anything the mom might or might not say,
    Hope everyone take this stand.

  19. C. It’s my nature to assume the best about people. You didn’t say what the phone call was about. Could have been an emergency. Could have been her deployed husband’s 60 second “I love you and I’m ok” call. Maybe her dad was taking her mom to the hospital. Any one of which would distract me. I’m not perfect.

  20. I would want to make sure the kids were ok and the cart didn’t roll away with them in It. I will pick c) but add if the mother saw me and caused a fuss I would call the police. Feel arguing with someone as negligent as this is probably a waste of time.

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