Monday, January 27, 2014

How Well Do You See What’s Around You?

It’s like the mall at Christmas only worse.  At least at the mall people are used to what’s around them, so they aren’t gawking at every sight and sound.  However, at Downtown Disney, it’s a tourist trap and people are in awe that everything has mouse ears on it and are soaking it all in.  I can’t really say much, I guess, because we go there about four or five times a year and are still soaking it all in.

Still, we are all people watchers and my eyes are always circulating around the odd looking specimens of humanity that swarm around us.  For instance, this past Sunday we were once again at Downtown Disney and this lady was wearing black spandex with roses wrapped around the legs.  I’m not sure who told her that was a good look on her, but really, just because you can wear something, doesn’t mean you really should.  Another girl, probably in her early twenties, was walking around with fairy wings on her back and it was obvious they were not a new purchase.  You would think nothing of it since you were at Disney, except she brought them with her as opposed to buying them as a souvenir and her clothes were just as bizarre.
Why would you arrive that way?

We had finished our rounds and were heading back to the van when Char said, “That boy is missing a shoe.”
We all searched, trying to find the boy she was referring to in the sea of tourists.  “He is missing more than shoes.  He only has one sock on,” someone else said.

Sure enough, this little boy, who I later found out was four years old, was missing both shoes and one sock.  However, he didn’t seem to care.  He was spinning around, stopping to twirl once in awhile, staring at all of the Disney sights around him.  He didn’t have a care in the world.
The 9 year-old enjoying an ice cream on one of our many trips

He also didn’t have an adult with him.

We wondered what parents would allow their child to walk around Disney without shoes and a sock, especially since it was a bit chilly and the concrete walkways had to be cold.  We searched trying to pair up the adults to go with the child.  No one was paying attention to the child.  We continued to watch and the small child passed adult after adult and none seemed to be keeping an eye on the little boy.  Soon he was in the midst of a whole new set of wanderers and none of them were paying him any attention, either.  No one was watching this little boy.

The girls went into Mom mode.  We followed the little guy to Lego land and soon he was darting inside and Sarah did a quick jog to keep up with him.  When she reached him she asked where his parents were to which he replied.  I don’t know.  He didn’t seem scared or nervous.  Actually, he was having a great time. 
The rest of us finally caught up to him and began asking about where his family was, how he got there, and where were his shoes. Teri fetched the Lego land manager while Char and Sarah went to find parents who might appear to be frantically searching for a missing child.

We tried to get his name, but he was hard to understand.  Cami?  Timmy?  We couldn’t tell.  How did you get here?  I don’t know.  Was it in a truck or a car?  I don’t know.  Were you asleep when you arrived?  I didn’t sleep.  He held no answers.

We took him back to a table and I helped him build something with Legos while the manager called security.  He didn’t know what he was building either.  Teri’s heart was breaking as she watched him and worried someone had just dropped the poor kid off.  It’s happened before.

The mother finally showed up followed by security, Char, and Sarah.  She walked in carrying his shoes.
“Come on, Anthony,” She said, ignoring the rest of us around her son.

“Oh, his name is Anthony,” Teri said.  “We couldn’t understand what he was saying.”

The mother ignored us and walked out, with Anthony in tow.  The sad thing was that her husband had been in the Lego store the entire time without even knowing his child had been missing.  We figured that the boy had been with his mother on the other side of the park and just decided he wanted to be where dad was and left her.

I think they want ice cream as well

With four year-old Anthony safe with his parents, or so we hoped, we headed back to the van, feeling secure that we had done something good.

What amazed me about the whole thing was how many people that boy passed and no one even gave him a second look.  Char had spotted him from two stores away and knew something wasn’t right.  He wandered among dozens of people too lost in their sightseeing and shopping to pay the boy with no shoes and only one sock a second glance.  We’ve become too preoccupied with ourselves and pay no attention to our surroundings.  As a people we don’t want to get involved in other people.  We need to open our eyes so we can open our hearts and arms.  We need to be less focused on ourselves and more focused on what and who is around us.  We need to risk looking around if only to see what we are missing.  Truth be told, we’re probably missing quite a bit.

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Other posts you might enjoy ~ Is Compassion Lost? 
                                             Everyone Has a Story 
                                             Be a Parent Teachers Need 

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  1. Scary how often people just let their kids wander. Anthony is incredibly fortunate someone didn't snatch him up. Totally inexcusable that the mother didn't so much as thank you for keeping her son safe.

    1. Sad that she didn't even look worried.

      The manager told us that some parents have dropped their very young kids off to wander the Disney stores while they hit the clubs. I'm surprised that kids aren't snatched from there more often.