After school on Friday, I decided to take my two boys to Target. Both were spending the night with grandma that night so I thought it would be fun to pick up a few treats for them...you know, sugar them up while they're at grandma's house. I posted a little bit of what happened next on Facebook Friday night and I've debated back and forth about writing about it but after nearly 100 facebook comments, I thought I would explain the situation a bit more especially since so many of you can relate.
My three year old is a bit of a firecracker. He's calm and cute but then all of the sudden he gets bursts of energy or maybe just plain rebellion...that's him in the picture above from a photo shoot last year. Cute, right? Anyway, I pushed him in the cart while my other son gathered up the groceries. As we headed towards the bedding department, my 3 year old decided he wanted to climb out of the cart.
He can unhook the seatbelt easily so basically, he just jumps right out or falls out. I told him no and put him back in the cart...then he decided to scream. Nice.
In a valid attempt to avoid a temper tantrum, I put him on the floor next to me and told him to walk. He did that just fine, he was holding some Oreos which made him very happy...until he saw the toys.
"Mommy, toys!" He said.
"Nope, not today." I said.
And that's when it happened.
He made a run for it.
I didn't want to chase him because he's actually pretty fast and I thought that would make him run even faster so I just walked quickly. I left my six year old by the cart thinking I was only going to go a few aisles up and be right back. But, the worst happened. My son took off up the aisles and through the divider into another section of the store. I started running.
When I got to the other side, he was not there. I started yelling. No answer.
I caught a glimpse of him running literally on the other side of the store. I took off running after him realizing I left my other son behind.
I had to go back. I yelled down an aisle and told my oldest to grab my purse and run. He did...of course he got halfway to me then ran back to get his cookies. Priorities.
Now, we're both running hand in hand and yelling up and down the aisles until I found an employee. She started yelling 'code yellow' into her walkie talkie and told me to go to guest services.
It is amazing how fast panic can set in. I realized quickly that I had just ran the entire store and did not see my son at all. I started pacing back and forth while holding the hand of my oldest son who was holding tight to his cookies.
There was a man at the front of the store who tried to tell me it was ok but I didn't understand that. I saw the manager running and I ran to him and asked if he had seen anything and he said 'No, nothing.'
I saw the front doors and took off. I thought he was in the parking lot but he wasn't.
At this point, I started to feel sick really deep inside. I could feel my body shaking and I could see people staring at us but I didn't know what to do. The tears were coming and my oldest son was getting scared. I thought about calling the police, I thought about calling my husband and I thought about screaming.
The manager yelled something and I turned around and saw he was headed to the bathroom. When I got there, he had the family bathroom door open and he was holding it for me. My youngest son was in the bathroom holding his Oreos and crying.
I ran and picked him up and cried too.
I could see people watching which suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. I tried to remember if I was screaming or hysterical, it felt like I was on the inside but I'm pretty sure I held it together for the most part on the outside.
I took both the boys, dropped the cookies and we left the store. A wonderful customer was walking with us telling us the story of her own daughter which made me feel much better. We got in the car and all three of us cried. I called my husband and my mom.
When I got home I realized I had left a cart full of groceries including milk, ice cream and lunchables in the middle of an aisle. I called Target and told them thank you for everything they did, which was amazing by the way. Then, I told them about the cart. The woman on the phone said it was perfectly fine.
While I loved Target long before this, I certainly love them even more now. They moved very quick and the whole store was searching, it was unreal. I know there were a few of you in the store during this time and I'll go ahead and apologize now if you saw me panicked and crying.
That was the worst moment of my entire life and I pray I will never experience it again. Praise God for a happy ending.