When I first walked up to the day care, I noticed a large black pickup truck in the pull-through with an older gentleman opening up the passenger door of his truck to, presumably, remove a child from a car seat for drop-off. From inside the truck came the voice of a child, chattering at his adult handler. I assumed by the later hour (8:30AM) and the lack of other cars that they were probably late for normal drop-off. I walked past them on my way into the building to drop off a bag of easy reader books and some information about our upcoming Summer Reading Program. I stayed inside for a bit, talking with the director of the facility, then headed back to my car.
Through the windows of the building, I could see the black pickup truck still parked in the bend of the pull-through, the old man gently but firmly holding the hand of a disheveled, crying toddler. And when I opened the door to walk out, I could hear the sobbing and hiccupping words of the child as he bargained with his adult, “But. I. Don’t. Really. Want. To. Go. In. There… I. Think. I’ll. Stay. Home. Today…”
That poor sweet child looked as if he had cried himself slick, what with all the snot and tears running down his front. And the old man was bargaining back as best he could with, “Now, you know you’re going to have a good time when you get in there…and, well, now don’t you try to run away from me like that…”
I pitied both of them, ‘cause I feel certain that the old man felt just as bad as the child about the whole situation. So I just put my head down and kept walking, minding my own business. I don’t know what I would’ve done had I looked back, but I’m pretty sure it would have involved me tossing the keys to my car to the child so that he could make a clean get away…