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I taught for several years at a residential school for children with emotional disabilities before staying home after the birth of my second daughter. I returned to teaching, finished my Educational Leadership program in May of 2012, and now work as our district's Writing and Social Studies Coordinator. I have always loved writing and find constant inspiration from my family. Maybe someday, I will get to see my name on the cover of a book!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Still Wondering and Worrying About Saturday Night...


Each week the Slice of Life is hosted by the writers and teachers of Twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. Many bloggers write slices each week that you can read by following the links from the comments, or feel free to join in on the slicing!

I did something a little reckless on Saturday night.

I've been thinking about it since, wondering if I did the right thing. If there was a better way to have handled it. Scaring myself with the what ifs. Reminding my daughters to do as I say and not as I did...

We were driving home from a play on Saturday night. It was 10:15. My oldest daughter, Larkin, played one of the leads at a local all boys' boarding school. My friend, Mel, (my blogging partner at tworeflective teachers.blogspot.com) was in the front seat and my third daughter, Clare, was in the back seat with two of her friends. They looked especially cute, since they had just been part of the audience at an all-boys  school. As high school freshmen, they know when to seize opportunities...

It had snowed a few inches and the roads weren't great as we headed home. The roads were also narrow because we have had a lot of snow--there's not much more room to put it. Therefore, when I saw a runner up ahead of us on the wrong side of the street for running, I was worried. As we got closer and realized that this runner was in street clothes with a backpack on, we were all worried.

"He was like our age," Clare said. "Why would he be out running in the snow at 10:15 on a Saturday night?"

I picked up my phone, and dialed the police. Yes, I made a call as I was driving--another action that I never do with my daughters in the car. I told the dispatcher that we had just seen a boy running along the main road in dark street clothes with a backpack, and it definitely had not looked right. He asked for details about the location and direction, I gave those to him, and he said that he would send an officer out. He didn't seem too worried and he didn't seem too hurried.

Impulsively, but with all passengers in agreement, I turned the car around. He just seemed too unsafe. We followed the footsteps in the road. The snow made it easy. We were all impressed by how far he had gotten. When we finally came upon him, I pulled over and he stopped. Mel rolled down her window.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Yes," he said.

"It's an odd time for a run," I said.

"I have to get back to school," he said. "I live pretty close to here and I have to get back."

"That's where we are actually coming from," I said. "We were at the play."

"I went to it last night," he said.

"You worried us," Mel said.

"I actually called the police when we passed you," I added. "You're pretty hard to see and the roads aren't too good."

"The police?" He gasped a little.

Where were the police??? I was trying to have this conversation take a while so that they would arrive. He might get in trouble, but he wouldn't get killed. I kept looking in my rear-view mirror for other cars, but especially for a car with lights on its top.

"Do you need a ride?" Mel asked.

No, Mel, I wanted to say. I can't give this kid a ride. I have other people's children in the back of my car. We don't pick up strangers. 

But there he was with a cracking voice, a school emblem jacket, a house nearby, and an extremely dangerous situation.

"Would you mind?" he asked. I think (hope) that he debated the situation. Just as I would say never to pick up a stranger, I would think that he would know to never get into a car with one. He hesitated, and we were all trying to figure out how to handle this. His school was only about a mile away, not far for the car, but far for a runner in street clothes with a backpack on slippery, narrow roads.

And, where were the police???

"What's your name?" I asked him.

He told us. (I'm not sharing it here.)

"Please get in the car. We don't want you to get hurt," I said.

I was so proud of the girls in the back seat. They were friendly and kind. They asked him questions and talked about the play. I asked him if he was drunk.

"You're not going to throw up on those girls, are you?" I asked. I had invited a stranger into the car to sit next to them. In a couple of minutes on the side of the road, Mel and I had determined that he wasn't a serial killer, but he could well be a prep school boy who was at home hitting up his father's liquor cabinet.

He assured me he was completely not under any influence.

My concern about him peaked as we drove into the school and the girls asked him where he lived. He lived on our street. I knew his family--not well--but certainly of them. I also knew how far it was! Almost three miles!!

We dropped him off in front of his dorm and watched him enter. I debated going to the door with him, shaking hands with his dorm parents, explaining how we had just gotten to know this young man. Maybe I should have.

Since Saturday night, I have had many episodes of second-guessing and the should-haves and the what-ifs. He talked about the complications in his family and I suspect that there are struggles. My daughters are pretty connected so they had an easy time finding out from people who know him that he is a good kid--funny, but in trouble a lot. I shared the story with a friend who is a friend of his mother's. She will have coffee and tell the boy's mother about Saturday night. And, I've tried to explain my actions to my daughters--rules are rules and sometimes we break them...I kept a kid safe on Saturday night.

I hope that he stays safe.









12 comments:

  1. wow...what a story...and scary circumstances...it left me definitely wondering what was really going on...xo

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  2. Hard decisions but sounds like you and your kids thought it through. Keeping him safe was a good idea - he also knows that some one cares. He may need that right now.

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  3. You might be worrying about whether or not you should have done it, but he's probably telling everyone about the good samaritan who stopped and helped him out.

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  4. It worked out, and your gut instincts were right. Had you not stopped, you wopuld still be worried about this boy...and perhaps something terrible would have happened to him on that long walk home. Where were his parents, I wonder? Why did he not call for a ride? That is one lucky family, Melanie - good that it was you who came upon this kid.

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    1. I have thought about many aspects of this situation, but not exactly like that. Thanks, Tara.

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  5. It's hard to know what to do. You were being a mom, and I'm sure his mom wod appreciate you helping her son.

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    1. She's going to find out if she hasn't already...we'll hope!

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  6. I agree with the above, too, Melanie. It isn't normally what we might ever do in this crazy, often unsafe, world, but you had your adult friend with you, & assessed the situation well. It was such a kind and caring thing to do. I suspect you taught your daughter and her friends about what is a good thing, no matter what. And I'm glad the boy is safe and received some kindness. (BTW-I like your new blog & title!)

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  7. You did the right thing despite that voice in your head. You showed your daughters what a caring person you are. I think that young man will remember your kindness for a long time.

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  8. I did a similar thing for a young man who had been riding a bike. It had started to rain hard and then thunder. I saw him trying to stay dry under a small overhang of the town office sign, beneath a tree. I NEVER pick anyone up, let alone a young man, but I just could not let him stand out in the rain and potentially get struck by lightning. Everything turned out just fine. He was relieved to have a dry safe place to wait out the storm, and I had the time to help. Some rules need to be broken, because, you know we all aren't dangerous! Sometimes you do really have to assess a situation and not just be someone who just watches! Thank you for caring and using your best judgement and a mom's heart!

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  9. As the mom of two teenage boys who sometimes do really stupid stuff, I am so grateful there are people like you in the world! Thanks for making the world a little safer and kinder for this guy!

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  10. What a loving thing to do. What a beautiful example of kindness to your family...to us.

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