The other day, in my bookstore, we had a small child who was dropped off by her caregivers. This was a child who was definitely not old enough to be spending hours in a retail store, by herself. I won’t go into detail, to protect her, but suffice it to say that the authorities had to be called and it was very painful for all involved.
I was having a lot of trouble moving past the incident, since the little girl involved was the same age as my own youngest daughter. A little boy, who with his parents is a very frequent customer, asked me about the incident the next day. He asked me many questions about the incident, some of which he had witnessed, including why someone would do that, would leave a child by themselves in a store.
My discussion with him and eventual answer brought a coworker to the verge of tears, and helped me as well. Here is the gist of the answer I gave him:
“Sadly, not everyone is a nice person. Some people do bad things, and we have no control over that. We can’t change how other people act, we can only control how we act. So what we can do is try to be good people, be nice people, and when we see someone in trouble, we can help them.”