So once again, I find myself in the position of having to raise some other woman's child.
This time, I was investigating something in front of the local bus and train station. When that turned out to be nonsense, I went inside for a cup of coffee. (And yes, I paid full-price for it. My cop-hating readers have no need to worry about the possibility that I might have accepted a free cup of Starbucks.)
I was standing in line there when I observed a young boy maybe eight or nine years old just lie down on the floor. He was with the woman ahead of me in line, and as it turned out, she was his mother. She was begging him to get up off the floor, and he kept refusing, telling her that he was tired. So what did this adult do when the little child would not obey her commands? That's right--she continued to beg. "Please, Jeffrey. Please get up off the floor..."
But Jeffrey wasn't about to get up. It was obvious that he's comfortable disobeying and disrespecting his mom.
Then as so often happens, she saw me. "Officer, can you please make my son get up off the floor?"
Damn. How did I get wrapped up in this? Why do I have to choose between being the bad guy in the kid's eyes, or blowing this woman off in front of everyone else in the area who is now watching? What do I do if he tells me no? I can't just snatch him up by the ear like she should have done two minutes ago...
I sigh. Then I lean down and whisper to the boy.
"Hey. You see those bums over there?" I point to a couple of the local bus-station regular homeless who were slouched in the corner with their trash bags full of junk.
Jeffrey looked over. "Yeah."
"They spit on this floor. A lot."
"Oh, GROSS!" Jeffrey yells, scrambling to his feet.
Problem solved. Mom thanked me and remarked how Jeffrey is at that age where doesn't like to listen to her any more (and I refrained from telling her to learn to control her own kid) and another woman in line gave me a smile and a little "golf clap". Jeffrey was still standing when I paid for my coffee and left.
I can't help but think that it's going to be a long road for both Jeffrey and his mom unless she learns to get control over him.
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