I first published this back in February of 2009. It still haunts me.
This reminded me of an incident in a grocery
store some years ago. I think about it every once in a while and it
continues to bother me.
I had pushed my cart half-way down an
aisle when a family of four was coming toward me. The father, a 40-ish
beer-bellied type was pushing the cart. When our carts came side-by-side,
the man was barking orders to a boy of around 10 on what grocery items
to grab and put in the cart. The boy darted back and forth frantically while the man
kept harassing him and calling him names.
The scariest part was
that close behind the guy were huddled a thin, pale woman and teenage girl. They
cowered close together with expressionless faces. The disturbing scene
screamed ABUSE. I was angered and appalled that this was going
on right in front of me. I desperately wanted to do something. I stood
there watching for a moment while I debated whether to ask the woman if
she needed help but she avoided making eye contact with me. I was terribly conflicted but afraid of
making the bad situation worse. I looked around and other carts were now
coming down the aisle and those shoppers were trying to ignore the whole
situation. Reluctantly, I moved on and I have felt guilty ever since.
always wonder what happened to that poor woman and her kids. I stew
about what I should have done--alert the store manager? Intervene no
matter what? Call the police?
I try to comfort myself that maybe the management saw the incident on security cameras and stepped in to help. But to this day, I wonder what would have happened if I had been more courageous."
5 hours ago