Earlier this week, I took my little one to the mall for our daily morning stroll. As we passed the playground, my gaze fell upon a little girl. She was wandering around like an aimless urchin. Maybe she was an aimless urchin. I don’t know. I didn’t have time to dwell on that possibility. She was standing right next to a vending machine. It was blasting chilled air and one of her feet was bare. Before the hapless mite caught pneumonia and died, I rushed towards the playground.
The only adult in the play area was a woman sitting on a bench. Her eyes were on a book instead of her child. She looked up as I approached. “You’re doing it wrong,” I told her kindly when I spotted the missing sock next to her. I grabbed it and quickly placed it on the small child’s foot. There was a large diaper bag beside the woman. I took the initiative to rifle through it and pull out a hat. I gently placed it on the little girl’s head. My chest swelled with pride as I walked away. I could hear the woman’s expletives of gratitude echo across the playground. After all, a covered child is a happy child.
Buoyed by my random act of kindness, I searched for more opportunities to help strangers with children. Fortunately, the mall was crawling with unfit parents. I spotted a pair of them pushing a wailing baby in a neglect buggy. Happy children do not cry in public places. Mine never do, so this couple clearly needed my help. I tightened my arms around my precious guppy, before marching in their direction.
They stopped talking when they saw me. I knelt down beside the baby and buggy. “You poor little hugless child,” I murmured in a soothing voice, gently stroking his hair. “I’m sure someone loves you.” Neither person moved when I unbuckled the little boy and picked him up. The infant stopped crying and looked at me. “Perhaps your child would cry less if you carry him,” I suggested, before handing him to his mother. The couple stared at me. The woman’s cheeks flushed crimson with embarrassment. “It’s okay,” I assured her in a confident voice. It masked how uneasy I felt leaving the hapless mite in their care. “Now that you know better, you’ll do better.” The man sputtered something unintelligible as I continued to patrol the mall.
My mind whirled as I scanned my surroundings. So many people needed my help. But who would reap the greatest benefit from my intervention? Suddenly, the stench of cinnamon hit me like a brick wall. Of course. The food court. What weak-willed parent can resist the lure of the nugget? I pulled my scarf over my nose and headed in that direction.
I wasn’t surprised by what I saw. Rows of tables littered with trays of garbage. My stomach sank. So many parents were shoveling GMO’s into the open mouths of their unsuspecting children. I walked past a few gluten peddlers before spotting a dire situation. A helpless adult male sitting beside a shrieking child. I looked around, but there wasn’t a mother in sight.
My pace quickened. The man obviously needed help to defuse the tantrum. The little girl stood next to the table, red-faced, fists clenched, howling at the top of her lungs. I couldn’t blame her. She was probably protesting the nuggets.
“Hi Sweetheart,” I said softly, kneeling beside the little girl. The man looked startled, but then visibly relaxed when I winked at him. He know that I was there help. “Why are you sad?”
“No eat,” the little girl stamped her foot and shrieked. “Me no eat.”
“You’re such a smart little girl,” I cooed, as I tousled her curls. “You know that your daddy is trying to poison you.”
“What?” The man sputtered, while the little girl stuck one unclean thumb in her mouth. Her eyes lit up with interest.
“Well, I’m going to help you, sweetheart,” I smiled at her and picked up their trays. “Let’s put this where it belongs.” I walked over to the trash can and threw both plates in. I pulled out my hand sanitizer and squirted some into my palms. “Garbage belongs in garbage.”
The man gaped at me, while the little girl smiled and clapped her hands. I grinned back at her. Sometimes, children know better than their parents do.
Parenting is hard for some people. It takes a village for these people to raise a child and I am a part of that village. Because when you know better, you do better.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is satire. It is fiction. Please do not verbally torpedo me for the actions of a fictional character. Thank you.