Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Accosted at Starbucks

This morning started out like it usually does, everyone running late.  Now that we've moved, Angel's school is a solid 25 minute drive in the AM.  Well, this morning, we were running behind.  I didn't have time to make breakfast, so I grabbed some Clif bars and shot out the door.  We made it in pretty good time so I decided to stop at the Starbucks and get the boys a breakfast sandwich instead of just eating a Clif bar for breakfast.

I saw the usual crew, said my hellos, ordered and waited for my sandwiches to be heated up and my latte to be made.   Just when I was about to get my coffee and sandwiches, a woman comes into the shop and starts screaming, or should I say, demanding to know who's van is parked outside.   I looked at her, she was one of the homeless people that hangs out around this particular Starbucks, and realized she was talking about my van.

I had parked right in front.  Right in the sweet spot.  Front row, closest to the door, totally visible from inside the shop.  I say this next thing with a bit of hesitation, for fear of being judged.  But, I know that I need to say it.  I left all 3 of the boys in the van.  The store wasn't crowded, I could see them, and I was in a hurry.  Now, some of you might be thinking that I should not have done that and that CPS should be called on me.  And  you have the right to think that. But I really was paying attention.

Well, after listening to her psychotic rants and claims of an 8 month old baby in the van screaming and in duress, I said to her that it was my van and I'm RIGHT HERE.  I SEE THEM.  THEY AREN'T SCREAMING, HE"S NOT 8 MOS. OLD.  She proceeds to scream obscenities at me for leaving them in the car, that she was going to call the police and that I should "Fucking go to work and forget about my goddamn coffee!"  "Fucking take care of your kids!  First of all, she knows nothing about me or how I "take care of my kids".  I was infuriated as well as being scared shitless!

All the while getting closer to me and waving her arms like she was about to attack me.  I have never been so scared and pissed off at the same time.  Ever.  I was shaking.  I didn't know if she was going to come after me, or go after the boys.  Well, after what seemed like an eternity of her screaming at me, she walked outside.  It looked as if she were going to go to the van so I followed her.  She saw I was coming and figured it was a good time to start verbally accosting me again.

At this point, Cat, the brave Starbucks worker came out and got in between me and the crazy homeless woman.  She did this because at this point, it really looked like she was going to attack me.   A few other workers came out then she finally left.

I was so upset and scared.  I had started to cry and ended up in the car, sans food and coffee.  A nice patron of the shop (she told me her name was Tanya) came up to the window and checked on me to see if I was OK and was so nice and reassuring that nothing was my fault and let me know that the homeless lady was a little "off".  She offered to get my food and drink for me, but by this time, another Starbucks employee had come to my car to check on me.  They gave me a hug, told me I was a good mom (thanks Nick!) and apologized for my horrible experience.  I got my food and was on my way, after calming down and stopping myself from hyperventilating.

The staff at the Starbucks was awesome and the one patron was super nice.  But no one else said anything or got involved.  I guess that's what's to be expected.  So now, I feel shaky and weird and ashamed for letting a crazy woman make me feel bad about my parenting choices.  I am a good mom and I do what is absolutely the best for my children.  I should not feel guilty, but unfortunately, I do.

I have no lesson or funny quip about this particular occurrence.  I just had to get it out on "paper".


  1. I'm sorry the crazy lazy accosted you at Starbucks, but I'm glad other people stepped in to help. People are always going to find things to judge you for, you just have to be confident in your parenting choices. I've left the kid(s) in the car for very short periods to go to the ATM mostly, but I take the keys with me always. A friend told me once that in New Zealand, they (used to? or still do?) leave their kids outside stores in strollers and go shopping... it's just a cultural difference.

  2. I had them locked in the car. Oh, and what I forgot to say was that after I picked up Ryan from school, his teacher came up to me and asked if I was OK. She said that he told her what had happened and that he was pretty upset about it and she had to calm him down. It didn't even occur to me that the kids were upset...I was too wrapped up in my own emotions to check on them :(

  3. I've left my kids in the car before in similar situations, especially in winter here. When I can see the car and it's for a very short time period, and the car is locked, it's fine! How much more likely is a toddler to slip out of your grasp in a parking lot and be in danger of being hit by a car? (I felt like I was chasing someone every day in a parking lot when the twins were toddlers). Yes, terrible things have happened when parents leave their children in hot cars or kids have been taken when a car is stolen (although every kidnap story I've ever heard involves an unlocked, even running vehicle, usually at a gas station). But people go completely overboard with this. Kids safely strapped into car seats in a locked vehicle in pleasant temperatures for five minutes in view of a parent are just fine! They are way safer than kids running around unsupervised by a distracted parent. You are a good mom! I'm so sorry that happened.


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