Who would have thought the parking lot of Costco on a Wednesday morning would be the scene of high drama?

Usually, the only angst I’ve seen is at the sample tables, when some unruly lounger eager to taste that sauteed sweet potato pierogi, the sugar-free kale, kiwi and coconut water smoothie or the tomato, bulgur and cheese veggie burger cuts into the line.

As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the flashing lights of two firetrucks and three police vehicles. Awfully heavy response to shoplifting or a car fire, thinks I.


The day was the warmest of the season so far. My air conditioning had been blasting, trying to cool down my car. Two other grey panther ladies and I stood chatting in the shade of a paint decor cube van.

“Someone left a dog in the car.”

“Cruel. The owner should be flogged.”

“The windows are up, too.”

“Idiots. Why do people bring pets shopping? What, they help with fabric selections?”

Burly guys in bunker suit overalls were bustling around, watched by three police officers looking very Miami Vice in their dark shades. The incident must have been going on for some time, if so many emergency responders were already on scene.

Whatever implement they used popped open the sliding door and through the tangle of men’s arms, a flustered woman darted forward and lifted a curly-haired two-year old child from the back seat. The poor mite was red-faced, scared and bawling. No kidding!

Windows up. Hot day. Child strapped in rear of dark van. Yes, she should be flogged. No excuses.

What in the name of all that’s holy would possess anyone to leave that sweet baby behind? After all the warnings and deaths that have occurred over the years?

I was furious. I know how hard it is to lug around children. But leaving a baby alone while you zip into Costco? Never.

My kids were small in the days before we had a car. I had to hump a heavy leather and steel perambulator down two flights of stairs to get from our walk-up apartment to the sidewalk.

That was the easy part.

After walking for twenty minutes to the nearest Miracle Mart, I had to push the laden buggy back home, unload the child (who was by then wet, hot, hungry and cranky), lock them inside the baby-jail (playpen) in the middle of the living room and schlep the groceries and stroller upstairs without rupturing myself or dropping anything breakable.


No one said motherhood was easy, but good grief, to put your child’s life at risk? There’s no convenience worth that.

Seriously, I hope the police charged her. When she pays that fine, she’ll remember what a stupid, thoughtless thing she did.