Friday, May 18, 2012


I stopped at Chipotlé tonight on my way home to get something to eat. This restaurant is on two levels (just a couple of steps up, I guess), with an outdoor patio outside the upper level. I got my food, and went up to the upper level to eat. As I got there, I saw a little boy pushing open the door to the patio. I looked around, and there was no one on the patio, and no adults anywhere around.

I'm not good at estimating age, but this guy was little, maybe three years old. I asked him, "where's your mom?" and he just sort of gestured vaguely, and kept on pushing the door. I said, "You shouldn't go outside by yourself," and he said, "I get to pick the table." I said, "Well, you need to wait for your mom or dad.". He ran off, back to the main part of the restaurant, and I looked over and saw him being picked up by a man. The boy looked upset, and who knows what he said to his father. I thought I should say something, so I caught the man's eye and said, "I'm sorry, I just told him he shouldn't go outside by himself," and the man said, "no, no, you're absolutely right," but the woman with him, the boy's mother, I assume, kind of glared at me.

I felt kind of like I shouldn't have said anything, but there were several things that could happen to a little kid in the five or ten minutes it could take his parents to get through the line and join him. He could get his fingers crushed in the heavy door. He could fall on the concrete patio and split his lip. He could run into the street and get run over. And the one I was thinking of when I stopped him from going outside, he could get scooped up by someone who wanted a little boy, and no one would have any idea who happened to him.

So I don't actually feel guilty about saying something, but it did feel a little weird, and I was glad when they finished their meal and left. But not as weird as I would have felt if he'd been snatched, of course.