A disturbing thing happened last week that left my girls, and me incredibly upset. Last week Brianna, Mikaela and I were running errands, we were making our famous stroganoff for dinner which requires multiple market stops since no one store has all the ingredients we need. On our way to the final grocery store we were stopped at a red light; I have a confession to make, I drive fast, I’m not saying this like it’s a good thing, and I know many of you will have strong opinions about speed and accidents and I don’t disagree. I also believe that slow drivers, people who go under the speed limit and drive in the left lane congesting the roadways also cause accidents. Both are not great ways to operate a motor vehicle and I own my irresponsible actions. Anyway, moving on.
Since I drive fast, I take off from lights quickly too…I like the sound of the engine roaring and the g-force pushing me back into my seat, which is why I’m no longer allowed to drive Yannick’s latest car, “it’s basically a race car Sauce and you cannot be allowed on the roads with that much power.” I’ve been told. So I don’t drive it, instead I bought myself a Range Rover SVR, look it up, it goes as fast as his car “in the straight aways” needless to say I won’t be “told what to do.” Hahaha. I kid, I kid. Anyway I like to play a little game at lights when I’m second car in, with one car in front of me in each lane at a red lights.
The game is: Who do you think will be the slowest off the light? Left lane driver or right lane driver??? The light goes green and then I wait to see if I chose the right driver.
Well, on this particular day it was a pretty solid dead heat to nowhere. Eventually the vehicle I was behind pulled ahead, and as I was passing the vehicle in the right hand lane I noticed something that concerned me, deeply. Actually, my girls and I noticed it at precisely the same time.
A young girl, not much older than fourteen was cowering on the floor of the passenger side of the car trying to open the door of the moving vehicle. She was crying. And she was screaming. The male driver was reaching for her in an attempt to keep her inside the vehicle.
Now I don’t know how many times any of you have ever seen something like this happening, but I for one have NEVER witnessed anything like this in my entire life. I’ve watched many Dateline episodes, I’ve read, as we all have way too many news articles about children/people being abducted, and I for one always wonder; “how did nobody see it happen at any point along the way??”
This was my moment, did I keep driving and attempt to forget what it is I saw, or do I get involved?
The young girl had managed to open the door a little bit, which forced him to slow down, that’s when I took my opportunity to take my big ass truck and block him in on the right side of the road. I jumped out, rushed to the passenger door pulled it all the way open and asked her if she was okay? Naturally he yelled at me, asking me what the hell I thought I was doing, I responded that I was ensuring her safety. Looking inside the vehicle it didn’t look good, the girl was in tattered, dirty clothes, he was also quite disheveled, much, much older than her but assuring me that he was her father. Yet the girl kept calling him “John.” Both my girls were out of our SUV, and I told them to call 911.
Imagine the scene, a young girl in the fetal position in the foot well of a small car, a man easily in his early 60’s claiming to be her father. Both are rumpled, unkempt, the car has a baby seat in the back and garbage is through out the car. I couldn’t take the risk of taking him at his word. I told him that I would stay with them until the police arrived. It was at this point when a gentle, kind, man stepped up behind me offering me his assistance. I must state, simply because of the racism, hatred and bigotry that is taking place around the world these days, this wonderful soft spoken man was not a white male. He stepped up to the car asked the man to turn off the ignition, and step outside the vehicle so that we could close her door and keep her warm and safe until police arrived. “John” kept yelling at us that the young girl was autistic, that he was her father, that he had just picked her up from her special needs school and was taking her home when she threw one of her fits. He told us that he needed to get her home to administer her medications. From inside the car we could hear the young girl yelling at him; “I hope when the police come here they kill you John. I hope they kill you.”
The entire scene put me on the verge of tears, my stomach was in knots. “John” questioned myself and the other gentleman if we knew what we were getting in the middle of? Did either of us have an autistic child? I, as you know do not, so him telling me that this is how they behave caused me to begin to doubt my decision to get involved. But, the gentleman who stopped to assist me, stated that his son is autistic. Now I’m not sure if this was true or not, but it did calm “John” down a little bit. The man then said; “It is important that we make sure that she is safe.”
To which I replied; “The police will be here momentarily, and if all checks out then I will be on my way, but sir you must understand that I couldn’t continue driving when I witnessed such an upsetting scene in your car.” Then we heard the sirens, I saw the police cars crest the hill and within seconds they were pulled up behind all of us and out of their cars.
Within minutes they were ushering me and the man back into our cars while they conducted their interview of “John” and as best they could, the young girl. Shortly after the girls and I were told, “his story checks out, he’s her father, thank you and you can be on your way now.” I was not satisfied.
I questioned the officer, “did you check their i.d’s??” Because I don’t know about you guys, but anybody can say anything, especially if the special needs person cannot really speak for themselves, to agree or disagree with the other person’s claims. The only thing I was told by the officer is that they had it from here, so bye, bye.
When we arrived at the market, I had a breakdown in the produce section. I broke down into tears for a few reasons:
- If she really is his daughter, my heart was overwhelmed by how out of his depths he was in caring for his autistic daughter. It was easy to deduce that they struggle financially, their clothes, their hair, their car. I have friends who have special needs children and caring for them adds a whole other level of costs that those of us who don’t have kids who require extra care can even imagine. So a large part of me was saddened by the hand that fate had dealt both of them.
- I was overcome with gratitude for my health, the health of my children and all the blessings that life had bestowed on us, and had a feeling of guilt for being given so much…
- The very real worry washed over me that I had been right. That this was not his daughter, and that perhaps, as captors are known to do, she was drugged and not autistic at all, and she was in grave danger, and the cops weren’t going to do a damn thing about it.
As I go about my life, haunted by that scene my prayer is that she is his daughter, and she is as safe as she can be given their circumstances. There is one thing that continues to trouble me about the entire encounter, and that is the very real fact that special needs, low income families are grossly neglected by our government. And we must find the money to change this. But by all means Trudeau you build that 7500 square foot Pool Annex, and all the other “extras” that have nothing to do with the actual repair of the 24 Sussex Drive itself.
Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm…