Welcome back blog readers,
I know that it’s been a few days since the last post was published; there hasn’t been much to report until a spark of inspiration hit me last night.
During the last five months of working part-time at a big box retail store, I have encountered 3 calls for CODE ADAM (lost child) to all of which were reunited in under 2 minutes, as that is what tends to happen most often. Last night I experienced my second encounter of a child that lost their parent.
My first encounter was last month when two young girls (sisters) approached me to ask if I have seen a lady with black long hair walk by. I ask if this lady with long black hair was their mom, it was and I brought them to Customer Service as we are trained to do so, figuring that is the most likely meeting place for a parent to start searching for their kid(s) in this situation.
The girls follow me and I tell them not to worry, this sort of thing happens all of the time and we’ll make an announcement to have their mom come to customer service to meet them. The announcement is made and the mom arrives with in a few minutes. As an associate, this situation is common and we don’t judge as we have probably been on either side of this ourselves.
What bothers me is how the parents respond when they are the ones being paged to meet their kid(s). This mother scolded her girls in front of us and made them apologize to us for basically doing our job and reuniting them.
Last night a little boy, maybe 7 years old approached me, he had 2 toys in hand and he looked scared almost ready to cry. I notice him and his behavior and ask him if he’s okay. He said he lost his mom and wanted help to find her. I told him the same thing I told the girls, not to worry, this happens a lot and we’re going to walk to customer service where they will make an announcement to find her.
I arrive at customer service and the associate immediately recognizes the situation and asks the boy, “Did you lose your mom?” he replies, “yes I was in the toy area, went looking for her and couldn’t find her.” We get mom’s first name and she is paged to meet her party at Customer Service. Mom arrives in under 2 minutes and comments how embarrased she was to have been paged as a missing mom. Her son is still clearly shaken up and mom doesn’t offer a hug or words of comfort. His effort to seek help went unnoticed. At this point, mom and kid are reunited, so I go back to my department to resume where I left off. Mom and son walk by me and he thanks me for helping him which felt pretty good.
Here’s what bothers me….
There is no need to feel embarrassed if you lose sight of your kid(s) in a large retail store. Trust me it happens at least once a week, we’re not judging your parenting skills. Parents please make sure your kid(s) know your first name, not just mom or dad. Please give your kids credit when they seek help from associates to reunite with you. I know kids are warned about “Stranger Danger” and please realize that most kids are scared and they don’t have a great sense of direction. You might have told them to meet you in a specific department, they might acknowledge what you’ve said, but getting there once they panic is a different story.
Showing that you’re upset about being paged gives your child the wrong impression about whether or not seeking help to find you is what they should do if there is a next time. Instead, acknowledge that they used good judgment/common sense to ask for help instead of wandering around the large store and putting the entire store on lockdown for a Code Adam. The fear/anxiety you as a parent feel when you have to resort to that call, is what your kid feels when they have to call for you.
We are there to help, while in most cases there is no real threat taking place, just thank the associate(s) that helped to reunite you and offer your kid(s) a hug. There is no need to apologize to us, or any need to make your kid feel worse than they already do. This is a HAPPY ending 🙂
Rant over, as I have to get ready for my next shift…