Moms – a note about parking lot safety:
To the mother out and about alone with her children,
Do you find yourself glancing every which way as you exit any store or restaurant and make your way back to your car safely in the parking lot? Kids in tow. Key clenched in your hand. Phone in your pocket within easy grasp for an emergency dial. Every car in motion could be nothing. Or it could be something to fear.
You’ve heard stories about others. You know you must always be vigilant. It has happened to you before.
Perhaps I am a bit paranoid but I, too, have been approached in parking lots. Someone came up to me with a story about why they needed money. It has happened when I was alone, when I was with my husband, and when I was with my kids. My kids. My dear precious little offspring that I would protect with my life if given the chance.
This last time it happened I was fed up. Angered. Why would ANYONE approach a mother in a parking lot who has three small children with her? Who in their right mind thinks she would just pull out her wallet while her young children are on their way into their carseats? Who would do this in a preschool parking lot?
There is at least one who would. Most likely many more.
What do we do? Be vigilant.
If you see someone pan-handling (which is illegal) do not put up with it.
“I know who you are.”
That is what I say, my line. This person who has approached me on multiple occasions immediately drives away when I say this. He knows he is wrong. He knows I will not give him any money. He has a guilty conscience and gets out of dodge as soon as possible. My theory is that if someone has a legitimate need they would not drive off so quickly. There is a time and a place to ask for money or help, and a parking lot is not that place.
Not when a mother is alone with her young children.
Not outside a preschool where young children are headed home with their loving parents.
No. I don’t think so.
Not on my watch.
License Plate, Make and Model, Description
It took several encounters for me to finally get this info right! If you are ever in this situation, make a note RIGHT AWAY of the license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, and physical description of the person. This is harder than you might think. I was so distracted and upset by the encounter this time that I left my wallet in the shopping cart, but I got the information and called it in. Luckily, my wallet was still in the cart when I drove back half an hour later to retrieve it!
Store your local PD as a contact on your phone.
My husband had the foresight to do this for me long ago. (Thanks, honey!) I may not have time to look them up and don’t want to bog down emergency 911 lines. Look yours up today and store it in your phone. Here are a few local police department numbers if you live in the RGV:
Brownsville (956) 548-7000
Donna (956) 464-4481
Edinburg (956) 289-7700
Harlingen (956) 216-5400
McAllen (956) 681-2000
Mission (956) 584-5000
Rio Grande City (956) 487-8892
Weslaco (956) 968-8591
Have your keys handy and keep your children’s safety the top priority.
Summers are hot in south Texas, so I usually keep everyone in or on the cart while I load my goods in the trunk. Then it’s in the car all at once, get inside, shut and lock the doors, and turn the car on to blast the A/C. I strap them all in from my seat so I know everyone is safe in the car. Everyone has their own way of doing things and varying levels of comfort, but the bottom line is to keep the kids safe and protect them at all cost.
Thank you for this!! I have an 8 yr old and she usually walks alongside me as we leave stores. I have been so paranoid lately with all that is happening in our country that now I place her in the cart to keep her safe. Maybe it’s a bit much but I don’t think so. The tips you give in this article are very helpful!!