Monday, October 11, 2010

My Daughter, My Hero

The other day my refrigerator died! It happened on a Sunday morning. We had had a power outage the night before for a couple of hours and I guess something happened to it when the power came back on.

So after a good long cry and a couple hundred "Why Me's!", my mom and I went to our local K-Mart which has a Sears Appliance Center in it. We found one that wouldn't break the bank! It was a Kenmore and I've always loved the Kenmore brand. The Salesperson told us that if we came back between 4pm - 10pm they would take an additional 10% off, so we decided to come back later that same day with my dad's truck so we wouldn't have to pay the $70 delivery fee.

When it was time to go get it, my daughter April came with me instead of my mom. When we got there it was apparent that this salesperson had told everyone in town because there were at least a thousand six people there ahead of us, so we had to wait.

While we were waiting we saw the doors to the back of the store open up and a woman with about 3 or 4 kids came out and then behind her another woman with a small boy about 6 or 7 years old. This woman was swinging what appeared to be a red ribbon at the little boy. At first I thought it was a red ribbon and that the woman was playing with the child; but as I watched further I realized the woman held a red leather belt and she was beating the little boy on the back, buttocks and bare legs (he was wearing shorts).

The woman had already hit him about 4 or 5 times by the time I realized what was happening. I was stunned! I'd never seen anyone beat a child like this in public. I could tell the other people there were equally stunned and I'm ashamed to say we all just stood there. Then I heard this voice yelling out, "Hey...STOP THAT, you can't do that, that's child abuse...STOP IT." It was my daughter April. She alone reacted and said something to this woman.

That's when things got scary and ugly. The women turned her anger and vengeance on my April!! She started yelling all kinds of foul things at April, telling her to mind her own (blank) business and that she would hit her child any time she wanted to and what the hell was April gonna do about it. April just told her to stop it, that she couldn't just beat the poor child that way. That further enraged the woman and she came up close enough to hit April if she wanted to. She screamed "What are you gonna do about it, huh bitch?" The woman kept inching closer to April and yelling things at her. April defended herself and the little boy verbally without being ugly and vulgar as the woman was being.

Finally I think we all realized that this truly was happening. I reached up and touched April's shoulder and told her to stop. Two men and the store manager came out from the back of the store and tried to steer the woman away from my daughter. Another woman also got involved and started telling the woman the same things that my daughter had been saying and she dialed 911. The woman realizing the police were being called yelled out to my daughter that she would be waiting outside for her and allowed herself to be steered towards the front of the store.

Once the woman was gone my daughter burst into angry tears. (I know they were angry tears because I do the same thing; get so mad it makes me cry.) By this time the other people that had been standing around came up to April to praise her for what she did and to see if she was ok. She was, but the tears wouldn't stop. She just kept saying "If that's how she hits him in public what do you think she's going to do to him when she gets him home and there's no one to protect him."

Even though the woman had threatened her and might possibly be waiting for her outside, all April could think of is what the boy might still have in store for him in the future and who was going to protect him then. The sales person that was helping us told us the woman had been hitting the boy exactly like that in front of the two security personnel and the manager. Apparently the boy had been caught shoplifting and they had to call his mother which is why she was so angry. It's understandable for a mother to be angry, but it didn't warrant beating the boy with a leather belt and she was swinging hard! What struck me as odd is that the boy didn't even flinch or cry out. It was obvious he was scared to death of her and used to being beaten like that.

About 15 minutes later, a deputy responded to the 911 call. He went to the back room with the security personnel and the manager first, then came out to talk to my daughter and the woman who had called him. He explained to them that in California it is not against the law to discipline your child in public. April and the other woman vehemently told the officer that this was not discipline, this was child abuse. The officer explained that the store had told him everything was on film on the security cameras and that he was going to go by the woman's house and check on the boy. If there was evidence of bruising or torn skin on the boy then he would take the next step in protecting the child and the other children by calling child protective services.

He took down the name and phone number of my daughter and the other woman and asked them if they would testify if the woman was arrested, both said they would. He then let my daughter know that the woman had left and not to worry that she was outside waiting for my daughter. He then left to go check on the boy. My daughter and the other woman exchanged phone numbers and we continued to wait to buy our refrigerator.

On the way home, I told my daughter that while I was proud of her for defending the boy I had feared for her safety and told her in a situation like that it is best to not say anything; to call the police and let them handle it. April proceeded to tell me that she would never just not say anything whenever a child or an animal needs protection. She then told me that she had done that before when she was in a bathroom stall and the woman in the next stall started beating her child. April said she banged on the stall wall and told the woman to knock it off and the woman did. She also told  me that when she sees an abandoned animal she stops and picks them up and takes them to the animal shelter. She said that in just the past week she had seen a man dragging his dog across the street by his leash and she had stopped, rolled down her window and told the man to stop doing that to the poor dog and the man sheepishly did.

Well by now I'm terrified. We all hear the terrible things that happened to people when they try to defend others or when you stand up for yourself if someone cuts in front of you in line. It's a scary world and there are lots of crazies out there. I explained this to April but she said, "Mom, if something happens to me because I was trying to protect someone who is innocent and unable to protect themselves, like a child or an animal then it will have be that way because I will always defend those that need my protection."

Am I happy to know this? No. Am I proud as can be that she's my daughter? YES! And that's why my daughter is my hero.


  1. Kudos to your daughter April! You certanly have reason to be proud of her attitude.

    We live in a violent world. Beating is never a solution. The boy has probably become immune to his mother's beating, and goes on shoplifting. His mother's violence, however, could lead to some great injury and even death of the boy,so she should be stopped by all means.People should never be indifferent to behavior such as hers.

  2. Your daughter is my hero too! What an example she is--not just to everyone watching the scene, but to that poor child, who now knows not everyone is like his mother. Of course he got caught shoplifting--that is a cry for help if I ever heard one.

    Anyone can call Child Protective Services to report suspected abuse. They will investigate without revealing who reported.

    You raised an amazing daughter.

  3. That is very impressive, Alicia. I am very proud of your daughter too. She did a very good thing. What a warm heart she has. She must have gotten that from you. :)

  4. My goodness, what a touching story, thank you for sharing it. It sounds like you raised your daughter to be an empathetic, caring person and should be proud of her :)

  5. Oh, honey! I would feel exactly the same way.....proud but scared for them as well.

    I think April is incredibly brave for speaking up. There's a show on tv that I've caught once or twice called "What would you do?" and it profiles scenarios just like the one you experienced, to see how most people would react. Altho the majority won't speak up, I'm always jubilant for the ones who do!

    They really ARE heros!

  6. April is very brave. I am not sure I would have had the guts to do what she did. I hope I would but Kudos to April


Please leave a comment.I would love to know your thoughts!