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Blog: Hey Kid, That Ain't Yours

(originally written 4/19/16)

This will be quick. And likely pointless, but I’m too lazy to do anything else right now.

Yesterday I did my little hoops routine. About halfway through, I rested on a nearby bench, leaving the ball stationery on the court (to “mark it” as still in use.)

A 15-18-month old had been playing with his mom and brother at the adjacent playground. He noticed the abandoned ball and expressed interest: “BALL?” I gave them permission to use it during my rest, so off they went.

Another kid, this one about four, took notice of the two bouncing my ball on the court. He quickly invited himself to the fun...bounced the ball a couple of times...then made this grand announcement: “I’m gonna take the ball down here (the other half-court) and play with it.” And began to run off as the tot and his mom stood behind dumbfounded. It wasn’t unlike that middle schooler’s trick touchdown run a while back. But I’m not here to talk about the past.

I quickly directed the boy back to my court and became quite possibly the first person ever to instruct him to share, which he did without question.  This young man clearly just made a mistake—unlike the little rat I’d deal with about six hours later.

After picking up Josie from school and handling some business, we went to a nearby McDonald’s. I ordered, quickly left my stuff at a table inside the PlayPlace room (again, to “mark it” as in use), went back to get the food, then returned to our table. Sitting there with my stuff (but doing nothing) was some random first-gradish girl. I politely shooed her off—why I had to when her mom was seated five feet away is unknown—and thought nothing more of it.

Well, not until 10 minutes later when I ran out of cola. Rising to my feet for a refill, I hadn’t taken even two full steps when the same girl beelined for my vacated seat and started to raise her grubby paws towards our unfinished food. With me still standing there looking right at her. Again, this was no toddler; she was around Josie’s age, clearly old enough to know what she was doing. What the f---?! 

For obvious reasons I almost never snap at children even when their behavior warrants it, but this time I barked at her to get away and gestured at her aghast mother to act—which she did, first by ordering the brat into their booth, then taking her home when she responded with a loud tantrum. 

Not long after, my own child accidentally spilled iced tea all over the library book I was reading, which will likely cost me $25. 
Needless to say, I should never have any property around any child at any time for any reason ever again. That’s it. Have a good night.

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