An open letter to a very, lucky lady …

Dear Lady at the Aldi store today,

Today was probably the luckiest day of your life. I mean, sure, you didn’t look like you knew that when I saw you. You looked, what was that? Embarrassed? Ashamed?

Nah – you were pissed off. You looked furious when I saw you, but perhaps now you’ve had time to think, you realise how fucking lucky you were today.

How? Firstly, you were lucky today that it was our van that parked next to your navy coloured little hatch with the windows cracked.

Then you were so very lucky that my husband stayed at the car to make a phone call while I went in to shop, and so lucky that the 30ºC+ heat of the carpark made him get out of the car and walk around while he was on the phone.

You were very lucky that I can smash out a weekly shop for a family of six faster than humanly possible, because grocery shopping – particularly manic, long-weekend grocery shopping – can kiss my arse.

Fuck, you were so lucky that my husband noticed your little boy in the car and began talking to him to ask if he was alright. He wasn’t, you know? He was hot. He told my husband he was feeling too hot in your car.

And there’s another reason you are lucky – my husband was able to befriend your little boy in about 30 seconds flat. I’m sure you’ve taught him stranger danger, but his sweaty little self forgot all about those lessons as he melted in your car. If my kind, caring husband was a different kind of person he could have easily persuaded your son out of your car and into ours.

Think about that for a minute.

You were so lucky that your son didn’t attempt to come find his mamma.

He might have, easily. You may have only opened your windows a crack, but you left your doors unlocked. Yeah, I still can’t process any kind of logic there.

Did you notice today that our massive van was parked on one side of your little car, and another big van was parked on the other? If he had decided to wander, I doubt that any car would have seen his little three or four-year old body dart out of your car-space without an adult by his side. *shudders*

You are so lucky – again – that it was my calm husband on the scene, because when I came out of the store and saw what was going on he was able to keep my “What the fucks?” down to a respectable level by reminding me how easy it is to make a mistake.

Oh, I know you didn’t feel lucky when he ran inside and told the management what was going on. I know you didn’t feel lucky when your number-plate was called out over the intercom. But you were. You so were.

Because I was now standing at the car, talking to your son with the sweat beads on his little face, and I was about .7 seconds away from reaching my own boiling point.

Again, you were lucky that it was my husband I saw first – before you – walking out of the store doors. Lucky that I could read the expression on his face that somehow managed to remind me that we are all just doing out best. That we all fuck up sometimes. That we all do shit that maybe we shouldn’t have.

But FUCK. You nearly fucked up massively. DO YOU GET IT? Do you know, yet, how lucky you are?

I don’t know why you were surprised when someone called you out for leaving your toddler unsupervised, in a furnace, in a car park, with busy shoppers driving maniacally in and out to stock up for a long weekend. But you definitely seemed annoyed when you stormed out, pushed past and grabbed your child to take him back into the store because you STILL weren’t finished.

Fuck me, he could have been out there for even longer?

Oh man, you are so, so, soooo lucky that your story was not this story. Or this story. Or this story.

Finally, you can thank your lucky stars that I have this blog that allows me vent – because I took photos today. Photos of your child in the car alone. Photos of the temperature gauge. Photos of your number plate. I’m still not sure what I should do with them, because I know I would hate to get called out on every parenting error I make – but damn it – I hope this post finds it’s way to you, and you realise the ‘might’ve-beens’ of your decision today.

Buy a lottery ticket lady, because whether you know it or not, today is your motherfucking, lucky day.

POST UDPATE: I slept on it, then called up the Police Station in the morning. They will look into it, and it is likely that there will be a DOCS notification – which doesn’t feel that great, but is certainly the right thing to do. Thanks for all of your advice.

Some stuff to know …

Don’t leave your kids in the car while you run errands. It’s shit. It’s a shit, dangerous thing to do.

  • On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be 20ºC to 30ºC hotter than the outside temperature.
  • The temperature inside a car can reach dangerous levels quickly; 75% of the temperature rise occurs within the first 5 minutes of closing and leaving the car. Large cars heat up just as fast as smaller ones.
  • Leaving the windows down slightly has little effect on the inside car temperature. Tests conducted by RACQ have shown that when car windows are left open by 10cm, the inside temperature is only 5 degrees C cooler than with the windows closed.
  • Young children are more sensitive to heat than older children or adults as their body temperature can rise 3 to 5 times faster. This puts them at greater risk of heatstroke and other health risks as their body temperature reaches dangerous levels much sooner.

Read the Kidsafe Victoria ‘Hot Cars’ fact sheet for more information.

Comments

      • Jana says

        My GOD I am SO glad you reported this! My blood Boiled READING this! And yes, I also live on the tweed coast and shop at Aldi St Tweed often. It has been bloody hot lately too. I CANNOT believe either of you lasted as long as you did. WHY didn’t you call the police sooner???? Obviously it is a common practice for this phuk head. You should name and shame honey. The cops won’t do ANYTHING unless they catch her in the act them selves.
        I too reported a similar offence at tweed mall when some dick head Nanna was smoking in a car, WITH THE WINDOWS UP, and a NEWBORN baby locked in the back seat. The piece of shit Mother comes out abusing ME when I made her aware of the situation! So I called the cops and they did NOTHING. Because unless they catch them them selves there’s nothing they can do. It’s BULLSHIT

  1. Matthew says

    done a test with my indoor outdoor wether unit just last week forgot to take picture early but I put the outdoor unit in the car with windows up, took a picture at 515 when there was a bit of shade on the car, indoor house temp was 29.6 and inside car temp was 59.7 it was higher earlier in the day

  2. Katrina says

    what a fuckhead you defiantly need to report this pathetic bitch, excuse my language but she is lucky I didn’t see it or my boiling point would’ve punched her in the face after I smashed her window called police and ambulance. Wow she is lucky you were there or this could’ve been a bad ending. But please defiantly report her as she is likely to do it again,

  3. Annette says

    It may be unpopular or seen as whatever… I don’t give a shit – you should report her.

    That is not a mistake, or doing your best. That is horrific. It’s not 3 mins at the chemist or paying for petrol.

    I have found children in a parked car too, and called 000 and lurked by the car freaking the little boy out until the fireys came and got him to unlock the doors, so they could check on him and his infant sister.
    The mother was so defensive when she eventually came out – with her FULL FUCKING TROLLEY of shopping.

    It’s NOT OKAY to let people treat their children like this. It’s just not.

    I am so glad you were there today.

    • says

      You are right. I have reported the incident now. I have a tendency to react instantly – not always for the best. I’m glad I slept on it and know now that it is definitely the right thing to do. Really can’t get his little face out of my head 🙁

  4. Carmel Warnock says

    The shock and frustration you felt are well expressed. Thank God you two were there and had the courage and good sense to act. I hope she has learned a lesson.

  5. says

    Wow. I can’t even. Thank god you guys were there. After all those horrible stories, why do people still do this? It’s not a mistake when you do it on purpose….

  6. Elizabeth says

    You shouldn’t feel bad or worry about that mom at all. She needs parental intervention. For whatever reason she had a lapse of judgement that could have left her child dead. You need to be accountable for that.

    Another “pet” peeve is people who bring and leave their dogs in the car in that same weather. You know when you leave home that you have errands and a dog. Unless the errand is the vet, why didn’t you just leave the dog at home?

  7. Maureen says

    I agree with everything you said Rebel, except one…That dumb creature should definitely not buy a lottery ticket. All her luck was well and truly used up when your husband spotted that child.
    She’s probably the same sort of cretin that gives wait staff the stink eye when her child runs riot in a café and gets shit spilled on him…
    Good on you for reporting her – hopefully a visit from DOCS will scare the shit out of brains and back into her arse.

  8. says

    I was friends (emphasis on the was) with someone who saw no issues with leaving her kids in the car or other people doing the same. Her logic was that it was no different to leaving them in their cot…except for the excruciatingly high temps. She was a nurse too! A couple of weeks ago we went to a carnival. We got there at 6pm and came home at 830pm. It’s 50 degrees in the car then!

  9. Sandra says

    I can’t believe people fucking leave their child alone ! And not only alone, but in a hot and unlock car !! I’m glad there is people like you and your husband. Thanks god nothing too bad happens to this little boy but jeez… So bad judgement sometimes !
    (Excuse my poor english, I’m french)

  10. Jane says

    Fantastic post Rebel. I work in community services and work closely with DOCS( or FACS) as they are now called. I say it every day of every week. The safety and well being of evey child in our communities is everybody’s business. Always report if you see something not quite right. You never know if that one call is the last piece the authorities need to investigate. Well done you and your husband. You made difference.

  11. says

    Such a great post Rebel, I hope the lady in question finds it and reads it. She is just so lucky you and your nubby were there. In this day and age how can people still be doing this! Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like she has learn’t her lesson though.

  12. Amanda says

    for the sake of the child, reporting it to the police and ultimately DOCS is the right thing to do. Better that the little fella survives into adulthood in the big picture.

  13. says

    I’m so glad you reported it. This is not ok. This is dangerous and needs to be reported. There is enough info and reports out there that people should know not to do it. Fuck me, she was lucky it wasn’t me either.

    • says

      My husband is so calming. Probably wouldn’t have helped the kid’s fear right then to see a big, crazy, pink haired lady losing her shit by his car.

  14. speckles says

    Wow…..just wow!
    How can a person do this to their child.
    So many things could have gone wrong (the heat, obviously……but the doors were unlocked. He could’ve been taken by anyone!)
    I agree, I think she used up all of her luck there and then. If she’d been in there for over an hour, she’d want to be thanking her lucky stars that she had a child to take home with her.
    Hope she see’s this!
    Good on your hubby for his quick thinking. The conversation he struck up with that little fella most likely prevented him from passing out due to the heat (or at least gave him a few more minutes).
    My children are older (6 and 7 years) and I could never leave them for 2 minutes (I take them with me to pay for petrol)…….I can’t imagine what leaving them for an hour would be like for them! Alone, unsupervised, no assistance if they required any…..for an hour. Just Wow!

  15. Sarah says

    I would have called the police on the spot. I cannot believe people leave their kids in cars deliberately, when you think of those who have done it accidentally and the awful outcomes

    • says

      Probably a bit of “It would never happen to me” thinking going on. We just have to learn that the risk is too great. I hope she sees this.

  16. says

    The words are all in my head that I want to say, but the fury at the fucking stupidity of some people are getting in the way of them coming out coherently. I have no idea how the hell you were able to put together your words so gracefully.

    I hope this *cough* mother has a visit from DoCS and the Police. If anything, it might make her not make the same pathetically stupid decision again.

    You and your husband are fucking awesome.

    MC xo

  17. Ann says

    The next time I find a child in a car alone, I’m calling the police, I am sick and tried of lazy people who can’t take their child in to the shops. anything could happen to them. I’m glad you ended up reporting her as well, hopefully she wakes up to herself.

  18. says

    Thank you to your husband and you for what you did. That little person will probably never know what you did for him today and I am sure his mother will never forget – or even tell him one day. You are right she was ‘lucky’ – lucky she still has this little soul in her life, lucky you didn’t really get to express your real feelings for her at the time and if she is really lucky that FACS notification will give her any help or support she needs so that she doesn’t repeat her unsavoury behaviour.
    I agree with Jane above – this may be the first notification and not much will happen but it may also be the last piece of the puzzle that’s needed to finish a story – the one that starts intervention rolling. It takes a community to raise a child today your family became the community that was needed.

  19. Tina Carr says

    Its never ok to leave a child in the car. Thank God you and your husband were there to help him. I was going to say who knows what could have happened, but we all know that this baby would have died or at least been seriously ill. I will never understand parents who do this, they wouldn’t like to sit in a hot car why do it to you child. I have two young children and would never, yeah it sucks taking them shopping sometimes, but we chose to be parents and that means all that comes with that. People need to take more responsibility, she shouldn’t have been angry at you guys, she should have been grateful you saw him before he died. I am glad you reported her, maybe she will think twice about doing this in the future. Plus leaving him in an unlocked car any sicko could have taken him away for ever, children are precious and we should protect them.

    • says

      I have heard since that she copped a serve inside from the management. Probably was a bit shamed and reacting to that. I hope that she had a think about what they were saying.

  20. Judy says

    What does it take to get the message to sink in to some. I visit that store often and there is almost no shade in that car park.

    By staying there, you saved that child’s life! Thank god you were there: what a totally incompetent mother that woman is – she needs to be charged and attend a parenting course that will educate her better.

    I am surprised you held back because I probably would have smacked her on the mouth and called the police first.

    I just don’t get it: we need a licence to drive a car, we need a licence to serve alcohol, we need a licence to own a gun and ffs we even need a licence to fish but when it comes to our most innocent and prized possessions – our children – any dickhead can have one (or a dozen!) – it is a privilege to have a child, not a right: I hope they throw the book at her.

    That child has you to thank for being alive today – thank you.. xx

  21. Georgia says

    My God! That little boy is so so lucky that it was you and your husband that found him. The mother is extremely lucky that she didn’t come out to find her child missing, or heaven forbid, dead. I hope she’s had a wake up call, but sadly, given the amount of media telling us how dangerous it is to leave kids in cars and she still did, I think she probably won’t think she did anything wrong.

  22. says

    She left him for over an hour! WTF! I’m so glad you reported it. Not just the fact that she left him there, but with the doors unlocked! I don’t know what goes through some people’s minds.

  23. Marjolein says

    I once saw a story on the Ophra shoe about a mother who left her 3 kids in the car dor a few minutes and one of them started playing with the sigarette lighter and burn down the car. Al 3 kids where killed…

  24. Hedda says

    I am so glad you reported this mum. Odds are she would do it again. If that had been me I would’ve called the cops on the spot. Too many kids die every year because of this type of behavior and it’s just. not. okay.

  25. says

    Good on you Rebel. I waited for a lady to come out of Woolies once, where she had left her beloved maltese terrier locked in her car, one window cracked. I was literally dialing triple zero when she came out. I told her what I was doing and why- she looked utterly shocked to discover this was an illegal practice. She asked what the police would have done. I said they’d likely have opened her car with a universal key, made sure her dog was okay then handed her a fine. “Universal key?” she askd. “Yup,” I replied, pointing to the half-brick at my feet that I’d found in a nearby garden bed, “This is a universal key, it will get you into almost any car. Police have been known to use them in situations like this!” She went very pale indeed. It was a very warm day and thankfully the little dog was ok. I don’t understand how people don’t know not to do this, to kids, babies or pets!

  26. says

    I have trouble believing parents these days still leave children in cars whilst they do their shopping…I believe you did the right thing telling the authorities about this mother…
    I would have taken the child out of the car & called the police immediately ,not wait for the mother to be called out from the shop..
    Let her deal with the repercussions of her actions…or non actions…as the case was.. right then..

  27. Diane Houston says

    You are so right in everything you say. Too many children have been tragically taken like this with no help from a negligent parent. A co-worker of mine lost her grandson I would say a year ago give or take a few weeks this way. He climbed into his parents car while they slept after a long drive to their destination. It was tragic and heartbreaking for the whole family. I can only hope your post does reach this very lucky lady and she realises that if the worst had happened, she would have been the only cause of it with no one to blame but herself for the rest of her life. If she could go on living the rest of her life.
    Reporting the details to the police was the right thing to do. no we all make mistakes, but this was more than a mistake that she needs to be reminded of promptly, swiftly and strongly.

  28. Charmaine says

    Would have served her right if you took all the incriminating photos, removed him from the car, rang the police and told them you were bringing him to the police station. And have the cops waiting at her car.

    • says

      The police say that if anyone ever sees this again, to call an Ambulance. Here’s hoping I never see it again, will definitely look in parked cars from now, though.

  29. says

    It has been so hot lately I just can not understand how a mother thinks it’s ok to leave their child in a hot car. You would never forgive yourself if your babe died from your own actions. Good on you for reporting and taking pictures. I just hope she never does it again!

  30. Melissa says

    And this is also why we need to support the parents who do the right thing, and bring their kids in to a cafe, supermarket etc. BIG deal if they have a temper tantrum etc, they are at least trying to include their children in tasks. I sometimes think its parents that are not coping with the kids that do stuff like this. So as a community we need to support them, and not crack it at every little whimper that kids make..

  31. says

    I am so glad that you and your husband parked next to this little boy. How horrible for him.
    I am confused though because didn’t you write that she left the doors unlocked? Why didn’t you or hubby get him out – perhaps I misunderstood.

  32. says

    My goodness, I felt misty eyed reading this… for some reason I kept seeing my little boy’s face (even though I would NEVER leave him in the car). I truly hope she learns a lesson from this experience – as you say, she was very lucky.

  33. Maxabella says

    ‘Lucky’ seems an understatement. I’m glad there are people like you and your husbie in the world, Rebel. x

  34. Patricia says

    Thank you for being there for this innocent little boy. My mom taught her friend a lesson at the mall a many years back. The friend had her infant in the cart (in the infant carrier) and had her back turned to the cart as she was looking at something. My mom took the cart and pushed it around the corner. As her friend turned around to get the cart, my mom watched all the color drain from her face when she saw her baby was gone. My mom immediately came back around the corner so she could see that her baby was not gone. She told her friend that if she could easily take her baby that quick, so could a stranger. Her friend cried and hugged her. Her infant is now almost a teenager, and her friend still talks about what my mom did and how she never took her eyes off the baby after that. Hopefully the lady in your situation will realize that it CAN happen to her…and she thinks about you and your husband every time she thinks about leaving that little boy alone again.

    • says

      So frightening. I think of all the times in a day that I think “Oh it will be alright for just a second” even after reading other people’s horror stories and I can’t believe myself sometimes.

  35. Judy says

    I’m glad the cardoons were unlocked. At least you could get him out omeediately, in this case, he could open the door more easily to be Rescued! I like the suggestion of taking him to the police or at least have him resting next to the car with a police car and policemen attending. That would definitely make the blood drain her brain! If she had one.
    Thanks for saving him Rebel and hubby.

  36. says

    My blood is boiling. I’m glad that kids’ didn’t though. Sorry if that seems crass, but SERIOUSLY. That is atrocious. Thank goodness you and your husband were there. And good on you for sleeping on it, but then deciding to call anyway.

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