After taking the kids to school today, my wife came home in tears.
There’s a thirty-minute difference between the time Faith’s and Caleb’s classes begin. Faith was dropped off first. Lisa then took the opportunity to run to the grocery store with Caleb and baby Hannah to pick up a few needed items.
As Lisa walked to her truck, she noticed a man in his mid-fifties approaching from the opposite direction. They converged at the vehicle as Lisa started to unload two light shopping bags and a box of diapers into the trunk. Lisa told Caleb to get into his car seat.
The man asked Lisa if she needed any help.
Lisa smiled and replied, "No thank you. I’ve got it."
The man ignored Lisa’s answer and continued walking to the side of the truck and, initially obscured from view, put his hands on Caleb’s waist from behind, picked him up, and told him that he needed to get into the car.
Lisa was startled by the man’s disregard of her response and the sight of little Caleb in his arms.
She sternly repeated, "No thank you, sir. I’ve got it!"
The man walked briskly away, jumped into his car, and sped off at great speed.
At no time did this man have any groceries in hand himself, and he had approached from the opposite direction of the grocery store. This added to Lisa’s sense of discomfort regarding the whole episode.
The man’s rapid exit gave Lisa further pause. Why leave in such haste? Was he upset by Lisa’s words and tone, or simply leaving the scene as quickly as possible?
Lisa thought of calling the police, but realized that she had very little information she could actually give them.
(Image: Caleb at his belated fifth birthday party a few weeks ago)
As she drove away, Lisa pondered about how she’s a potential target – a late-term pregnant woman with two young children in a crowded parking lot. After all, it’s easy for someone to approach an expectant mother and ask if they want help, right? And a pregnant woman can’t really give chase, especially if there’s a two year-old toddler by her side.
It may have all been nothing – simply a Good Samaritan who was unaware of how his snubbing of her reply and subsequent actions could be construed during this day and age – a time of increased sensitivity to child abductions by pedophiles and of numerous reported incidents in busy parking lots.
But it certainly shook up my wife and one can never be overcautious about such things. We simply live in a corrupted world inhabited by corrupted beings. We have to keep reminding ourselves of that.
To put things in perspective a bit…
The following men all have something in common:
- They all live within ten miles of the grocery store…and my children’s school
- They are all convicted sex offenders involving sex crimes with children
God forgives, regenerates and reconciles those who accept Him. Nobody is outside of His love and extension of grace. Perhaps quite a few of these men have now embraced Him as Lord and Savior.
But, unless we know for sure where a person stands, we are to be gentle as doves and wise as serpents.
We are to be on guard and realize that it can indeed happen to us.
…And we are to continually bring the issues to light.