I Saw Myself

This supposedly “quick trip” to Walmart to pick up some milk and eggs took 2 hours…here is why:

I went to a Walmart on Wrightsboro Road. At the milks and eggs section, I saw a little kid squatting with his head covered by his arms around the refrigerator. I thought he belong to a group of people that was next to him so I didn’t think too much. Then I realized that I should have gotten a cart since the milk was heavy. I knew I wasn’t able to carry everything by hands thus I went back to the entrance and pushed a cart over in the to very back area where I was.

When I returned, the little kid was still squatting there with his hands covered his face and the group of people was already gone. Then I became concerned, I looked around the area to and I picked up some milk and eggs. There was still no sign of his family around.
I then walked to the boy and asked, “are you okay? Are your parents around?”

He didn’t say anything as he wouldn’t even lift his head to see me; I pat my hand on his shoulder, he wasn’t shaking or crying.  He was wearing shorts, sandals and sleeveless blue shirt with some bruises and scratches on his knees. I asked the same questions again after a brief pause. He refused to say anything.
I walked to the closest attendant and told him what I saw, and immediately he went to get his manager. I looked at the kid as the manager was on his way, but the kid got up and started walking down the isle. I lead the manager to the kid and we were able to find him roaming by the self checkout section The kid was quiet this whole time.

The manager told me he wouldn’t be able to detain the kid if he is not asking for any help. I asked the manager if it’s okay to just let the kid roam without an adult’s supervision. He thought to himself for a bit, and then went and alerted a female associate. She was able to talk to him and finally got the boy to finally speak up who his parents were. I thought everything was fine and decided to continue my self check out. As I was scanning the items and bagging them, I saw a woman, whom I presumed to be the boy’s mother, told him “stay where you are” as she pushed the cart towards the check out. AND of course, the boy walked off again into the clothing section where I lost trace of him. The boy’s mother either had a lot of confidence as to where he was going to or she probably just didn’t care much.

I went back to the female attendant and asked was everything okay. She said yeah the boy pointed out who his mother was, and she also had an older child who was keeping an eye on him, and she quoted the mother saying she knew exactly where he was. At that moment, I thought to myself “that’s what bad parents always say.”

Later after I went home and I realized that I didn’t have a receipt from Walmart. It clicked to me that I had left the store without paying. Thinking I would be responsible for shop lifting, I panicked. With my car load of stuff since I was moving out of my unit earlier today, I decided to go to my husband’s house to drop off all my stuff before heading back to Walmart to pay the deck. Hector saw me came in the house and was happy to see that I brought orange juice finally since he has been out for three days, but only to realize that I had to bring the items right back to the store because I forgot to pay them. After I dropped off my belonging from the move, I left and returned to Walmart without telling him the full story of what had happened. When I returned to Walmart, the same attendant who was stationed at the same Walmart did not even realize that I had left without paying. She was surprised as well as confused as to seeing me driving back and paying for stuff that was already bagged.

Towards the end of it, I thought it was stupid. No body probably even realized that I didn’t pay. Ultimately, at the beginning of the story, the whole reason I turned around in the middle of grocery shopping was to get a cart so I can alleviate heavy weight; but it became extremely pointless since I ended up having to haul the items back to the store again and pay for them since I was distracted by the boy. And if I had just gone ham and lift everything by hands since the start without a cart, I wouldn’t even be all concerned to come back and see the kid still all by himself.

Hector asked me why I decided to help the kid as I came back to his house with a grumpy mood. I sat for a bit, diverted away from his eyes and said, “I was like him. When I was young like him, I squat alone but wanted someone to notice me and help me.”
I told him exactly the experiences I had in the past. I would isolate myself after being left behind or left out, and what I did for the boy was exactly how I wanted someone else to do for me when I was around the same age. I would do my best to never let a kid be like me. Later I told Hector, I probably was a terrible kid too. I wanted attention and I wanted help, but when someone actually asked me what’s wrong, I wouldn’t talk, lol. It was really frustrating that the boy wouldn’t talk to me, because had he just told me he knew where his parents were or he needed help finding them, I wouldn’t have spent so much time at Walmart back and forward. His silence just kept me guessing, and I thought sadly to myself, I was probably exactly like that. I had to learn the very hard way that cry wolf never gets me the real help I needed.

I truly wish that boy doesn’t have to go through the hard way, and it was probably just me being too nosy with other people’s business. A little Walmart trip became something that brings me the darker side of my childhood, but now I see how naïve I was.


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