Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Code Adam

Have you ever seen those people on the news who have been victims of a crime and they say, "You always think, that will never happen to me, and then it does." I had one of those moments yesterday while shopping with Grace and Noah for her birthday present. Grace turned five yesterday so I took her to the store so she could pick out anything she wanted(within the budget). Noah seemed to think he could pick something out too, when I explained to him why he had to put the Playdough back, he became angry with me. He stomped his feet all the way to the shelf and put the container down with a bang. He then started to look at some of the other toys around that same area. Grace in the meantime was looking at some High School Musical 3 merchandise. Some of the things she was looking at were a bit unreasonably priced, so I was trying to suggest other things to her. I turned back around expecting to see Noah, but instead found a whole lot of nothing. I started walking up and down the aisles calling his response. It was eerily quiet, there was no movement around us anywhere, not even other shoppers. I looked down every aisle of the toy department, I then back tracked thinking he may go where we had already been. The whole time I was calling his name, still no response. Grace kept talking about what doll she wanted and could we go back so she pick it out. It was then she heard the panic in my voice when I told her, "We're not doing anything until we find Noah, do you realize he's lost?" From then on she said nothing else, she just followed me and helped look for Noah. I ended up going to the front desk and explaining to them what had happened and how I couldn't find him anywhere. They made an announcement over the loud speaker, "Attention, there is a lost boy by the name of Noah wearing an orange coat, if anyone sees him can you bring him to the front desk, his mom and big sister are waiting for him. Noah, if you hear me, come to the front, mom is waiting for you." The phone started ringing at the desk with questions, how old?, where was he last seen? Another mom came and asked me how old and where were we when I realized he was gone. She went looking for him. Another call came in, I'm assuming it was the manager, the clerk wasn't supposed to announce over the loud speaker the way she did. I heard her say, "Well, if he was taken, he'd be long gone by now!" That's when my thoughts started racing, and even more so when I heard over the loud speaker, "Code Adam". I knew exactly what that meant, I used to work in retail. For those of you who may not know, it means, possible child abduction, check and lock all doors, check the restrooms, and the fitting rooms. It was named after Adam Walsh who was abducted from a store at a mall in Florida, his dad hosts the show, Americas Most Wanted. Time seemed to stand still, every time the phone rang my heart raced even more. I felt so helpless, I wanted to run through that store screaming his name, begging him to answer. Finally the call came in, he was found in the toy department, by the trucks. He wouldn't go with any of the employees so I headed back there. He was walking with the mom who had asked me about him earlier, he was holding a truck and crying. I was so relieved to see him, I picked him up and gave him a huge hug, the whole time talking to him about the importance of staying by me and answering me when I call his name. This whole ordeal, I think, lasted about 15 minutes. Grace finally got to pick out her present and then we went home. I lectured him the whole ride home, raising my voice a few times. When we picked up the older kids from school I told them the story. I had them tell Noah the importance of listening to me while out shopping. I hope he learned a lesson yesterday, I sure did! I never thought I would hear, "Code Adam" being called for one of my kids. I am breathing a huge sigh of relief, and I'm very thankful it turned out the way it did, there are a lot of parents out there who aren't so lucky.

Until next time-
Take Care,

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