Code Yellow

Ever have one of those days when you just know you should stay home, drink tea, read books on the couch with the kids, chores and meals be damned?

Next time I’m going to listen to my instinct.

I took the children to Target today, and as I was pulling in, I noticed an older couple, probably in their sixties, loading something bulky into the back of their brand-new Jeep Cherokee (or whatever the full-sized Jeeps are called nowadays.) I looked again, and realized… it was one of the Target shopping carts!

They were stealing a cart from Target.

I was shocked… and then I was pissed. And I mean pissed. Like they were stealing my kid’s bicycle out of my front yard pissed. Because of jackasses like that, prices go up and I have to pay more.

She was just getting into her Jeep by the time I got out of the van. I yelled, “That’s theft, you know!” but she slammed her door and drove away.

I wrote down her license plate, description and the time, then went inside to talk to a store manager. (I have an overdeveloped sense of right and wrong, I guess.) I gave the manager the information and explained what I had seen, and she assured me that they’d contact the police.

(In fact, I just received a phone call from one of the officers in our city confirming the information. I’m glad to see they followed up on this.)

I took Stella and the boys to find the things on my list. Halfway through the soap aisle, George said, “Mommy, Ethan’s gone.”

I sighed. “You know, I’m really tired of Ethan not staying with me. He knows he’s supposed to stay with the cart.”

I waited a minute, then sent George to the next aisle over to find him. He wasn’t there.

I walked several aisles in one direction, then several aisles in the other direction…

No Ethan.

Now, those of you who know me know that I am NOT a panic-stricken mother who dissolves at the sight of a minor cut. It takes quite a bit to get me worked up, and I was afraid. I went into Worst Case Scenario mode and made a beeline for the front of the store.

The Target team member I found (I think she’s a manager of sorts, although not the manager I spoke to earlier) asked me for Ethan’s age and description and called a Code Yellow over her walkie. In effect, every team member drops what they are doing and looks for your child. They station two team members by the doors to make sure that no children matching your child’s description leaves. They keep the parents at the front lanes to watch for their child.

“… three-years old, blond hair, blue eyes, wearing a blue Buzz Lightyear shirt and brown shorts and blue tennis shoes…” It struck me odd that all of the clothes he was wearing had been purchased here at this store. The Buzz Lightyear shirt says “To infinity… and beyond!” when you push a button.

Around the corner holding the hand of a girl comes Ethan. She’d found him in the womens’ clothing department, which is clear across the other side of the store. I think he started following another cart, not realizing it wasn’t ours.

I thanked them profusely, then took Ethan behind one of the registers, and broke down. In tears. In the middle of Target. Which made Ethan start to cry,of course. He’s more sensitive sometimes than I realize.

He apologized, nodding solemnly, big blue eyes shining and serious. “I won’t ever walk away from the cart again, Mommy. And if someone bad tries to take me, I’ll kick him. See, Mommy? I’m OK.”

We’re spending the rest of the day on the couch, reading books. Laundry and meals be damned.

4 thoughts on “Code Yellow

  1. Amy McWeasel

    Oh sweetie, what a scary thing. Many hugs to you.

    (and for what it's worth, I would've done the same thing about the cart. I also have a highly developed sense of right & wrong.)

  2. Tazja

    Oh, that would have freaked me out something fierce! My youngest has a propensity for wandering off if I turn away even for just a moment. Hugs to you!

    And I totally would have done the same thing about the cart! Stealing is stealing, that's awful. What, they could afford a new Jeep but not a wheelbarrow?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *