What would you do?

At dusk, I left my daughter in the care of her grandma at the soccer field and headed back home to pick up two of my other kids.  I turned off by the library.  As I passed the bus stop, I noticed a boy standing near a boy on the ground.  The boy on the ground was curled over his knees, forehead on the ground, apparently crying.

As I drove by, I wondered what had happened to the crying boy.  Had he fallen?  The other boy just stood there.  After I passed, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and that’s when I saw the standing boy begin to kick the boy on the ground.

I knew in a flash that the standing boy had been waiting for cars to pass so he could resume kicking the boy on the ground.

I was outraged.

I turned into an apartment parking lot and drove back to the bus stop.  I pulled my car over next to the boys and rolled down my window.

“What is going on here?” I demanded.

Both boys were standing now and just looked at me.

I pulled my car keys out and marched around my van to stand between the boys.

“What are you doing?” I said again to the bigger boy.  He appeared to be about ten years old.  He stood mute.

“I saw you kick him.  That is not cool!  You do not kick other people!”

The younger boy–probably five years old–stood on the other side of me.  He stared with wide eyes.  His cheeks were blotchy from crying.

“You!”  I pointed to him.  “You go home!”  He immediately started running toward the apartment complex behind the bus stop.

I turned back to the kicking boy.  “What is wrong with you?  You do not kick people!”

Finally, he spoke.  “He’s not even supposed to be out here!  And my mom isn’t home!”

“Is he your brother?”

“No, he’s my cousin.”

“You don’t KICK him!  That is not all right.”

“We, he threw a shoe at me.”

I rolled my eyes.  “Are you kidding me?  And you kicked him?  It’s not okay to kick people!”

He began to move away from me.  As he reached the parking lot, I yelled, “Do not kick people!  If the police were here, you’d be in big trouble!”

By that time he was running toward the apartments where his young cousin had disappeared.

I realized with a horrible jolt that I had perhaps just made things worse.  Now the smaller cousin would be in the apartment, in private, with his cousin who had been viciously kicking him.

I ran for my van and wheeled into the parking lot but it was too late.  The boys had both disappeared.

And I am left to wonder.  Did I do the right thing?

20 Responses to “What would you do?”

  1. Esther October 28, 2010 at 1:18 am #

    “What Would You Do” airs on Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. Where was the camera crew tonight? If only they had been there, we would be able to see your outrage when we turned on the TV some Friday, soon.

    You DID the right thing! The boy’s mom wasn’t home? She, and her son, were in the wrong. Shame on them – yeah for you!

    The world needs more people LIKE YOU who will take the time to stop; to get involved; to say enough already!

    And my heart aches for the poor little guy. Being kicked hurts.

  2. MissKris October 28, 2010 at 1:54 am #

    YES, you did the right thing!!! My grandson Dylan’s preschool class has 3 very evident future bullies already creating havoc amongst the others and my poor Dylan got the brunt of it one day, stepping in between two of them trying to make peace. He was the one who ended up getting his face raked with fingernails that were meant for the other boy. Hard enough to draw blood. I cringe, because Dylan is such a sweet-natured, tenderhearted boy. How much of that will he see or experience before it begins to harden HIS heart? And where was the mother in all this, not home with two guys that age unsupervised? WHY are some people allowed to have kids?! I’ve said it many times…it’s too bad there isn’t some kind of test or pill or SOMETHING for parenting ability that a young couple has to take or participate in before they ever bring any more kids in to this world. What I observe volunteering in preschool is a real eye opener.

  3. Helen October 28, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    YES, you did the right thing!!! You can’t control what happens behind closed doors, but you would have felt guilt for a long, long time had you NOT stopped and intervened. That may have been the first time anyone’s bothered.

    And if no one else bothers to do it in the future, it WILL be the police one day….

  4. Kristen October 28, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    Yes!
    Reading this, I thought, “Wow, she’s brave!” It was unclear at first how old these boys were. If they were teenagers (which is what I was first thinking) I’m pretty sure my next stop would have been the police station rather than intervening myself. I am in awe that you took action. I am astounded that a 10 year old would viciously kick at a 5 year old. In public. There is something seriously wrong there. Maybe no one has ever told him that kicking people is not cool. But today, you did.

  5. Yvonne October 28, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    Mel, you absolutely did the right thing!!!

  6. becca banana October 28, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    I’m glad you stopped and said what you did. I think this defines my teaching job (middle school). :)
    Though today I think I’m going to use the line, “If the police were here, you’d be in big trouble!” GO MEL!!!

  7. karen October 28, 2010 at 4:12 am #

    I agree, you absolutely did the right thing. I’d like to think that, in some way, you got through to that bigger boy. And to the little one, because he knows that someone took the time to intervene for him.

  8. Peggy October 28, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    Yes, I beleive you did. We should stand up for the underdog anytime we see something going on that shouldn’t be. Pray for them… who knows? Maybe God has given you this opportunity so that you can remember them in prayer. Pray over their lives. I think you were a total hero~ :-) Hugs

  9. Cathy October 28, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    I agree with the others. You did the right thing and in the moment, that poor little boy stopped being kicked. And that’s a good thing. Sadly, the older boy learned that behavior from someone, most likely a parent/relative. But you made a difference. You become a voice inside his head now that may make him think. Maybe when the older boy gets kicked, he will shout “you do not kick other people”.

    I would have the done the same thing. It’s people like you, that take action, that make a difference in this world.

  10. Jill October 28, 2010 at 7:41 am #

    You did the right thing. The older one was probably a little afraid you might come around after they ran in and probably left the little one alone. Neither one of them was old enough to be at a bus stop unsupervised. Whatever the older one could do to the younger one is nothing compared to what a predator would do to that five year old.

  11. Tom October 28, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    I think you did the right thing. I wish every adult behaved as a community parent, so the kids knew the rights and wrongs are absolute and wouldn’t be tolerated in any venue. I’m sad for both boys, who by description must be used to not having much parental supervision.

  12. Paige October 28, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    um, yes. of course you did.
    I took pictures of a man in a parking lot that we thought was picking up (kid napping) a kid. Even though the kid said he knew the man.

    I think all people should make more of an attempt of actually looking at what is going on around them

  13. Vivian October 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    yes you did the right thing. at least he knows now…he may get caught again. who knows what could have happen to the other boy.
    Good for you!

  14. elswhere October 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Yes. If nothing else, that little boy had the experience of someone standing up for him. That can be pretty powerful.

  15. Rachel October 29, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    Wow, I have goosebumps from reading this story! Good for you!!

  16. poet October 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    yes, i agree with everyone else who commented. you got involved. pitty there aren’t more out there like you, standing up for the bullied.

    as was said, you can’t control what goes on behind closed doors, but you stopped that incident, be proud of yourself. i know i am.

  17. Lisa October 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    YES!!!

  18. Adventures In Babywearing October 29, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    I would cry!! And I would possibly take the younger one into my care until I got him in the safe hands of an adult, if I had the opportunity. Otherwise maybe call the police? I don’t know!

    Steph

  19. Marmee October 31, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Absolutely you did the right thing! At least, I think so. I would have done the same thing.

    Had they been 10 years older, probably not, I would have called the cops.

    And thank you for doing the brave thing, most people do just turn and look the other way.

  20. Allie November 3, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    the same thing happened with me. the kids were a little older and the larger one had the younger one in a head lock and was beating on his head on the corner of a busy street. I turned the car around and yelled at him and he kept hitting the kid. the older one dragged the younger one, still in a headlock to an appartment and I went two blocks to the police station and made a report. I figured if he would beat the boy in public, what would he do in the apartment? When I drove by again, the police were there. Never knew what happened but my kids still talk about it! I tell them that is what happens when they kids don’t obey their parents!

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