Dear Target – a thank you letter

It’s no secret that I’ve harped on Target in the past. First there were the epidural maternity shirts, then there was the incident where the police were called on a breastfeeding mother. This weekend, however, Target did something that has me very thankful, and while I already informally expressed my thanks to them on Twitter, I wanted to do so a little more formally here.

It happened on Saturday – the last weekend before Christmas – when Jody and I decided to take the kids to Target so they could each pick out a present to give to the other. I thought it would help them learn the joy of giving, rather than just receiving on Christmas.

Before we went into the store, we emphasized that the store would be very busy with lots of people and the kids were to stay with us at all times. (You can see where this is headed, can’t you?)

Jody and I each took a kid and headed for the toy section as the kids searched for the perfect gift for their sibling (and got distracted with what they wanted for themselves at least 20 times). At one point, I turned a corner and glanced behind me with 3-year-old Julian nowhere to be seen. My heart jumped into my throat as I quickly retraced my steps and found him just around the corner playing with a toy. Whew!

Eventually, the sibling gifts were chosen.

I wanted to buy some art supplies for the kids, so Jody took the kids and planned to let them pick out something for me while I shopped for them.

I found what I wanted and began moseying around the store to find them. That’s when I saw Jody, alone, looking frantic as he dodged in and out of maternity clothes racks.

“Where are the kids??”

Jody told me he couldn’t find Julian and had told Ava to stay in one spot with the cart while he looked for Jules.

My first thought was to go to the guest services desk and let them know Julian was missing. The more people looking for him, especially on such a busy day, the better. Jody, however, apparently had the same thought at the same time and beat me to the desk.

I ditched my cart (and my purse – totally wasn’t thinking) and started looking for Julian myself.

Within seconds, crimson-clad Target employees were combing the aisles in force. Within two minutes, an employee asked me if I was the mom with the lost child (was the crazy “Oh my God, where is my son?” look in my eye that obvious?) and said they had found him and they would bring him to guest services.

Thank. God.

As I quickly walked to find Jody and tell him Julian had been found, I heard another employee say, “Oh! They are chasing after him!” And I could picture Julian screaming and crying and running away from the people who were trying to help him. Poor buddy.

I ran over to where Jody and Ava were already headed and met up with them to find a crying Julian safe in Jody’s arms. I kissed and hugged him and was so relieved to see he was OK. We let him know how scared we were that he was lost and it was obvious how scared he was too. (He had apparently run away from Jody looking for me when he got lost.)

It was about that time that I remembered that I’d ditched my cart with my purse in it. I was relieved to find it was all right where I left it.

I can’t tell you how thankful I am that our story had a happy ending.

Thank you, local Target employees, for springing into action so quickly and helping my husband and me find our son.

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What To Do If Your Child Is Missing:

If your child ever goes missing in a store, notify the front desk or an employee ASAP. Most stores have a “Code Adam” procedure (named after Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old son of John Walsh, who was abducted from a Sears department store in Florida in 1981 and later found murdered) that alerts the employees to look for the missing child. If the child is not located within 10 minutes, the police are called.

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16 thoughts on “Dear Target – a thank you letter

  1. Oh, phew! How terrifying for you. I had a friend’s son run away from her in the supermarket (he wanted to visit the lobsters apparently) and the supermarket went into lockdown until they found him.

    And, even though it happened so long ago, I can’t even see the name of John Walsh or his son Adam without tearing up. That family truly took any parent’s worst nightmare and used it to make so many important changes in how we deal with lost children.

  2. It breaks my heart the reason Code Adam exists and needs to exist. I am really glad that the folks at the Longmont Target were able to help you so swiftly.

  3. Oh wow. I feel for you. I had one of my kids slip away when my back was turned. I looked around and called his name, but no response. I went to the clerk to let her know they needed to lock down the Gap store. It was a scary few minutes, and thankfully the store was nearly empty. But what a fright it gives parents!

  4. Amy-my eyes welled up at certain parts as I have a daughter with adhd that bolts a lot. :( we live in a major metro area, so there are a lot of dangers!
    Glad that he was found safe!

  5. so glad this had a happy ending!!!!!!!

    i’ll never forget once getting lost in a grocery store. i must have been about 5, but i clearly remember coming up to the cash register sobbing and having them page my mom over the loudspeaker. i think the other side of your story is to remind our kids what to do if they’re lost in a store…thanks for the reminder.

  6. Oh my gosh! That is so scary. I was tearing up just reading it. I’m so glad that everything turned out the way it did. That sounds like something my 4 year old would do, too. Glad that he was safe.

  7. That is the scariest feeling. I’m usually pretty easy going when I can’t “see” my kids and know they’ll turn up, but one time I lost them in downtown Breckenridge on the 4th of July. I was BESIDE myself with panic. A lady found them walking to the toy store together…

  8. I’m so glad you found him and all was well. That is such a huge fear of mine, and it only takes a nanosecond for them to slip away from you : (

  9. I’m so glad your little guy was found safe and sound. That sounds really frightening. I had my own scary kid incident on Saturday – I hope whatever was in the air has cleared, for both our sakes.

  10. I am so happy to hear such a happy ending to this story! You are not the first person I have known to have a very positive experience at Target with a lost child. Yay for Target!

  11. I’m so glad it ended well! My 3 year old is a wanderer — just this weekend we found him just about 10 seconds before they locked down Macy’s!

  12. This happened to me in another town. I had never been so freaked out in my life. The employees of the store I was in were also very helpful, although I didn’t think to approach them. I was too frantic to think at all! Thank you for the “What To Do” part of your post. I wasn’t aware of that policy.

  13. So relieved he was found safe! How scary. I remember being lost in the mall when I was that age, and it’s a sickening feeling. Even worse was when I lost sight of Mikko at Walmart and had this same experience of both Sam and me rushing around, frantic, trying to spot a very short child among the racks of clothing. He, on the other hand, was not frightened at all and Sam eventually found him wandering very far away (that’s scary, right there!), sing-songing to himself, “Mama, mama!” as if I were the one who had wandered off! Urgh. Next time I will ask the employees for help. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I was feeling too guilty to tell anyone I had lost my child!

    By the way, my mom used the opportunity of my getting lost as a child to remind me always, always to stay put and wait for her to find me, rather than be also wandering off looking and not crossing paths. I think the idea of going to the nearest customer service desk is an even better idea, if possible, but still — once Mikko can comprehend this, I think I’ll have to drill that into him: Stay still!

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