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    Oh, Boy!

    | New Zealand | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Top

    (I’m working the checkout on a fairly light day. The next person in queue has a young girl with her, about six or seven years old. The girl pulls out a hat from her pocket and puts it on, then reaches for an energy drink on display.)

    Mum: “Sweetie, you can’t have that. They’re not good for you.”

    (The girl’s face and shoulders drop as she is visibly and suddenly deflated. She takes off her hat and puts the can back.)

    Girl: “But mum… I was Mikey! He has them all the time! How did you know it was me? Mikey told me when I wear his hat you would think I was him and would let me buy it, and wouldn’t know it was me.”

    Mum: “Oh, sweetie, I’m your mummy. I would recognize you anywhere, no matter whose hat you were wearing.”

    (The girl calms down, but is still upset. As her mother and I exchange pleasantries, the girl puts the hat back on and pulls it down low over her face, but I can still see her lips trembling.)

    Me: “What a lovely boy you have there, ma’am. He looks really big and strong.”

    (The girl cranes her neck up to look at me under the low visor, her eyes huge and shining.)

    Me: “Hi, young man. What’s your name?”

    Girl: *smiling and trying to fake a deeper voice* “Mikey! Mikey! Michael.”

    Me: “That’s a great name, son. You take good care of your mum there, okay?”

    (She nods gravely, completely happy and satisfied. As they walk out, I hear the girl’s tiny voice.)

    Girl: “Mummy, mummy, I knew it! I knew it would work! Mikey said it would! Do you think daddy would know it’s me, too?”

    (The mother turns and gives me a thankful smile and a wink before leaving.)