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This week brought to you by the dauntless hero, Mr. Daddy.
Let’s begin with a round of introductions:
These here are the grandkids:
Cutie Left and Cindy Lou Hoo:
And their photogenic parents:
And the Mr. Daddy/Grandpa who happens to adore those kiddos… I think it’s mutual:
And of course, yours truly and Itty Bit were along for a playdate at the mall.
And this is what a normal social situation consists of: those three kiddos making friends with any and all other little people there. They have a blast:
They can get rowdy, but not rough.
Well, yesterday afternoon the playground was a bit busier:
And by the time our hero had occasion to show his valor, there was a crowd of nearly 15 kids swarming over every toy.
The scene of the showdown was this prized piece of real estate:
No, not me. And not my camera (though I fell over backwards in an effort to protect her). But the slide. The glorious slide.
See that little munchkin on it at the left?
She was about to meet this little munchkin.
A tiny little bully wandered in alone and positioned himself as King of the
Any child who dared to step foot on it was summarily shoved, pulled, hit, kicked, and generally beaten up.
Several times, I approached him with smiling entreaties to “be kind, be gentle, no hitting”, while looking around pointedly for his parents.
A little girl braved the slide steps and made it to the top. With a firm shove, she was knocked backwards onto the floor onto her head.
Her eleventy-month pregnant tattooed mother jumped up and yelled,
“HEY! You don’t do that!”
As the playground quieted, she looked around and said loudly,
“I’m sorry, but NO ONE touches my kid!”
No parent stepped forward. The adults began to murmur.
Whose kid is he? Did anyone see who he came with?
The woman put her crying daughter’s coat on and left the playground.
Another dad came and removed his son.
And yet the little bully persisted.
Hitting, kicking, grabbing, shoving. The kids just wanted to play. And he hurt every single one of them that ventured too close.
And then he made his fatal mistake.
He reached for Cindy Lou Hoo and pulled her by her shirt.
He reached up and grabbed her by the hair.
In a flash, her mother and I were up.
And a voice thundered across the wide space.
“HEY! YOU KNOCK THAT OFF!””
As the bully grabbed another tiny girl, Mr. Daddy stepped over the seats and strode toward him.
With his finger nearing the meanie’s face, he bellowed,
“I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU TOUCH ANOTHER KID!”
The entire mall went eerily quiet.
The kid stared at Mr. Daddy.
And twice more pushed his luck.
Mr. Daddy strode off to the security desk to find out who the meanie belonged to.
And in those several seconds, the boy took aim and kicked Cutie Left in the stomach.
Aware that some sue-happy parent could threaten me, I picked up the lightweight bully and removed him from the slide.
I stood him up in front of me and said loudly,
“Honey, we don’t hurt other people. Where is your Mommy?”
He smiled at me.
“Where is your Mommy honey?”
I looked around in desperation, to be met with looks from other helpless parents.
Mr. Daddy returned with a teenaged security kid. Who had no luck getting the kid to identify his parents.
Mr. Security Kid gently took the bully’s hand and led him out of the playground. The kid broke free and ran to a man who was sitting on a bench.
Friends, this kid’s father was seated 50 feet away from the slide, watching the entire scene without caring.
Here’s the setup… see that bench behind the shoe rack? The slide is several more feet to the right.
He had a badly obstructed view. There’s no way he could have kept an eye on his son. But there was no doubt he saw me pick up the kid and set him down off the slide. There’s no doubt he heard me ask where the kid’s Mommy was. There’s no doubt he made eye contact with me and sat there looking mildly amused.
As Security Kid began talking to him, the guy seemed totally nonplussed.
In fact, he made a show of seeming comfy on the bench.
Parents were shocked. He’d been there all along watching parents leave with crying children. I was stunned… If anyone had picked up my child, would have been there in a heartbeat… facilitating a Come To Jesus meeting.
(Can I get an Amen?)
Oh but that wasn’t it!
We watched as he continued to sit there, ignoring Security Kid’s pleas to leave. He let his son run back into the playground and hit a couple more kids.
Security Kid called for backup.
Bigger Security Guy showed up.
They continued their little chat.
And TEN MINUTES LATER, the guy was still sitting there all comfy.
And then the heavens parted and the dude stood up.
with the kiddo
and WITH A BABY CARRIER.
Parent Fail Dad is escorted toward the exit and decides to suddenly get talkative.
He stops next to Mr. Daddy, leans in and says,
“You yelling at my kid? You wanna take this outside?”
Mr. Daddy steps back, puts his hands up, and says,
“Hey man, he was hurting the kids”
The womenfolk had gathered their kids and we stared at the scene.
Bigger Security Guy cut in,
“Hey now, that’s enough, let’s go, let’s go”.
I realized pretty darn quick, that between Mr. Daddy and his oldest boy, there was no way they’d be on the losing end of any fight. But it didn’t keep me (and about 12 other parents) from nervously looking around for the next half hour… waiting for Gunning For A Fight to return.
We do what we can to keep our little ones safe.
Wanna guess how many relieved parents thanked Mr. Daddy?
I was first in line.
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