Posted in Stories

The wrong door

“It’s the Target on Plano Road. There’s a Sonic out front. And a Bank of America. The car is silver. Texas plates…”

Right next to her, another woman wasn’t as composed, sobbing over and over again, “I parked it right here. It was in this spot. I just ran in to get some paper towels. My kids were in the car!”

Along with others, we walked closer to learn what had happened and try to help. A young mom had run back into Target for a roll of paper towels, leaving her two children in the car. It was just for a moment. When she came out of the store, the car – and her children – were gone.

My wife went over to comfort her. The woman on the phone with 911 spoke quickly but calmly, and told us, “The police are on their way.”

Someone asked, “Are you sure this is where you parked your car?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes!”

“What kind of car was it?” I asked.

“A silver Olds.”

I scanned the parking lot, wondering if somehow the car might be a row over. Or maybe behind a truck.

Another asked, “You came out this door?”


“I think so.”

For a moment, everyone was quiet. There are two front doors, thirty yards apart.

Is it possible? I walked a few rows over, looking for silver cars. I saw one. Running. With two crying children inside.

I shouted, “Is this it?” I shouted out the license plate numbers and letters.

The young mom ran over, confused, relieved, embarrassed. “Yes. That’s my car. I must have come out a different door.”

We were relieved and headed home. But the night was not quite over for this mom. The police car blocked her from leaving. They would want to know why she had left two young children alone in a running car at night in the Target parking lot.

We wondered the same thing.

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