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My trip with the kids to the dentist this week ended very unexpectedly when a woman ran up to my car window as I was about to pull out of my parking spot.
“Can I use your phone???” She asked frantically. “My baby is locked in my car!”
Time stopped. I quickly dialed 911 while I sent her inside to get anyone to help. With my own kids already watching a DVD in our van, I went to find as much information I could about her vehicle.
Luckily, her car was running, but everything had been locked inside the car, including her keys, phone and yes – her 10 month old daughter.
I stayed close by so that she could see someone was near while also talking to the 911 dispatcher and hoping to flag down any police officer I could find.
Let me stop my story here to tell you two things:
1. Nothing happens to the baby (I know all of you are wondering – so I want to put your minds at ease!)
2. The security officer/police officer response was not only pathetic, it rocked my belief in our system.
When the mother came running back out of the building, the security officer slowly walked behind her. When I questioned whether or not he had anything to open the door, he said he couldn’t because of liability.
We’re talking a baby locked in a car in 100 degree weather!
I hugged the mother. I cried with her. I prayed for her…all the while believing confidently we’d hear those screaming sirens any second.
Two minutes passed. Then three. Then five.
After ten minutes passed I stood there in total shock. Not only was this a baby locked in a car, but this was downtown Nashville! Surely there were dozens of cops driving nearby.
Nearly 13 minutes later, two cop cars leisurely pulled into the parking lot – only two be greeted by two women flailing their arms. There was no urgency and to be honest, very little concern on their faces. One had trouble even getting out of the driver’s seat.
The swifter of the two said “Pop a Lock” was on its way…..On its way? You mean we have to continue to sit and watch this child scream for its mother, not knowing whether or not the air is working inside?
He then informed us he could break the window, to which the mother reluctantly but quickly agreed to.
With the unreal & severe heat wave much of this country has been subjected to, along with the number of child deaths due to the heat, how could anyone be so blase? One may argue that they were simply stoic to keep the situation under control. Maybe. But there were no sirens, no hurry in step, and no comfort of any sort after the baby was reunited with her mother.
For the second time in less than 20 minutes, I looked on in shock.
Not wanting to step out of line, but needing to say something, I asked the officers if there was anything else I could do. They politely thanked me for staying on the scene until they got there and said my presence was no longer necessary. I walked over to the now relieved mother and asked if there was anyone she’d like for me to call and she declined. She thanked me and again apologized for interrupting my day.
Interruption? Is that even fair to say?
Now while I would never go so far as to say a baby locked in a car is a blessing, I would also not claim it to be a simple interruption. There was a reason I was at that place at that time. Had I been so busy as to ignore the woman, keep my doors locked and windows rolled up as I (and so many of us) often do when we don’t want to be bothettered, I would have missed the opportunity God had called me to in that moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say I saved anyone…except for myself, that is. Instead of being frustrated by the interruptions of the day, whether it be an unexpected phone call or a batch of heavy traffic, open your mind to the possibility that it may be happening for a divine reason. Perhaps that traffic is keeping you from your own car accident. Maybe that phone call will assist in getting your attention off of yourself and on to someone else.
Whatever the reason for the interruptions of your day, I’d like to challenge you to re-frame your thinking and open yourself up to the possibility of the impossible. We don’t always need to understand the reason things are happening, but we do need to understand that things happen for a reason…
Boo on the Nashville Police! That’s horrible. So glad you were there to help, comfort, and be an eye witness on her behalf in case anything did happen and SHE ended up being blamed instead of the joke we call security. Yikes.