Today I am going to share a personal story, a family story. My older son is a single dad with a beautiful daughter, a little girl. He shares custody with her mother.
It can be awkward for a man when he needs to use a public restroom when he is with his daughter. It is horrible, but we all know the possibilities. So, my son and his daughter were at Walmart when he needed to use the restroom. He took his little girl into the men’s room with him. As he entered the stall, he told his daughter, “Stand right at this door and don’t move. I’ll be out in a minute.” He could see her feet under the stall door.
As he was using the facilities, he could hear someone whispering outside the door. He called out to his daughter, “Is someone out there with you?” She responded, “Yes Daddy. It’s a man, and he wants me to go out of the bathroom with him.” While he quickly prepared to leave the stall, he told her, “No! Stay right where you are. Do not move away from the door.”
When my son exited the stall, his daughter was right where he told her to be, and there was no one else in the restroom with them.
He took his daughter out into the store and told her that they would walk around the store, and he wanted her to point out the man if she saw him. In a matter of seconds, she said, “Daddy, that’s him!” She pointed to an elderly, grey-haired man.
My son approached him – and he admits that he “lost it” as soon as he approached the man. The man had a thick accent that he couldn’t understand very well, but the guy was actually yelling at my son about being a bad father!
My son was calling this sick man all kinds of names, and the guy was doing the same. Their voices were raised, and a crowd gathered. My son yelled to the crowd – “Get Security and call the police!” No one moved. All the screaming and yelling was upsetting my granddaughter, and she started crying. The “sicko” guy threatened my son that he wanted to fight him.
This all went on for about ten minutes. During all that time, not a single security staff member appeared. No store manager appeared. My son was so angry; he said he was afraid he really would hit the guy. So, he took his daughter’s hand and turned and walked out of the store.
ONE Walmart employee, a cashier, followed him out the door. She had paper and a pen. She asked him for contact information, saying she planned to file a report about the incident. I give her credit for being the ONLY staff member to step up.
My son and his daughter reached their car, and she was still crying. She thought her daddy was mad at her. My son assured her that she did nothing wrong, and the man was a bad man. He was very angry with him. He explained why he was angry at the man, trying not to frighten her any more than she already was. She calmed down and appeared to be okay.
It is terrifying to think that my granddaughter could have left that bathroom with that man who was likely a pedophile. Did my son handle the whole situation correctly? Probably not, but if I was there …if you were there… do you think you would have handled it differently? Personally, I really don’t know. I didn’t advise him what “he should have done.” I did suggest that he contact the store manager in person today to discuss their lack of security.
Right now, I just thank God that both my granddaughter and son are okay.