If You’re Going To Call The Police, Just Do It And Go Away

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 5, 2021

I am scheduled to visit a friend, but when I arrive, I find her hopped up on pain meds and only half-lucid. It turns out that she had unplanned emergency dental surgery today and is still recovering. I offer to take her younger son out to play for a while so she can get some sleep until the meds wear off.

For the record, the boy is black while I’m so pasty white I could be mistaken for a ghost, so it is clear he isn’t my biological son, not that that means much considering he was adopted, anyway.

I take the boy to a small playground shared with the other apartments right outside their home. At one point, one of the boy’s friends comes up to play with him so I back off a little to let the friends play.

Little Girl: “Can you please push me?”

I have never met the girl before. She is young enough that she probably can’t swing on the swings without being pushed, and she doesn’t appear to have any parents there to watch her. Having nothing better to do while watching the child I am babysitting, I agree to push her a little. I’ve never had the heart to say no to a cute kid!

A few minutes later, my kid starts to run off toward a different playground, at which point I politely excuse myself from the girl to follow the kid I am supposed to be watching.

Around the same time, a slightly older boy that I presume is the girl’s brother shows up and tells her she has to go back home. The girl complains that she was told she could play but the boy insists that her dad wants her home immediately, so they leave together. I don’t think much of this.

Just a few minutes after that, three large and burly men come down from the same area. They all have a very demanding demeanor. The man in the middle is clearly “in charge” of the other two.

Man #1: “Hey, who are you?”

Me: “Huh?”

Man #1: “You, what are you doing here?”

Me: “I’m playing with my friend’s son so she can get some rest.”

Man #1: *To the kid* “Is this man bothering or hurting you?”

Kid: *Confused* “No.”

Man #1: “Do you know him?”

The kid is now starting to sound more afraid than confused.

Kid: “Yeah, he’s our friend.”

The man doesn’t seem satisfied by this; he is looming over the poor child looking quite angry. As a man who regularly volunteers with children, I’m unfortunately used to dealing with lunatics who decide I must secretly be a pedophile because there is no other reason a man might care about children, so I know what is happening here. I can also tell that the kid I am babysitting doesn’t know what is going on and is clearly scared of the looming men, so my main goal is to avoid the man upsetting him any further.

Me: “Why don’t we talk over there so we don’t bother [Kid] while he is playing?”

I start to wander off in the indicated direction, hoping to draw the men away from the playground and the scared child, but one of the two men flanking the spokesperson cuts me off when I only get a little ways away.

Man #1: “Don’t run away. You didn’t answer my question.”

Me: “I’m not running anywhere. We can talk where we aren’t disturbing any children.”

Man #1: “How do you know him?” *Pointing to [Kid]*

Me: “He’s the son of a friend of mine.”

Man #1: “Then how do you know this friend?”

Me: “She’s my friend. I like to visit her and the kids. I’m not really sure what else you expect me to say about her.”

Man #1: “How did you meet her?”

I originally met my friend through some volunteering I did. I’m quite confident my friend would not want me disclosing the details as to her personal situation or why she originally needed my help. I take the promise of confidentiality in my volunteering very seriously. Thus, despite the clear threatening actions of the three men and my general resolve to cooperate to avoid escalation, I am not going to violate her privacy by sharing those details.

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s private.”

Man #2: “What’s your name?”

Man #1: “Yeah, let’s see your ID.”

Me: “My name is [My First Name], and I don’t have any ID with me, not that you have a right to demand it, anyway.”

Man #1: “That’s a lie. Everyone has to have an ID. Show it to us.”

Me: “I intentionally leave my wallet and keys in the house when I bring the kids out to play so they don’t get in the way or lost.”

Figuring this is getting us nowhere, I decide I’ll get them to hurry up and make their real accusations so I can answer them and hopefully resolve this sooner. So, even though I am quite certain what this is all about, I ask:

Me: “May I ask what all this is about?”

Man #1: “Why were you pushing my girl on the swings?”

Me: “She asked me and I had nothing else to do! Why shouldn’t I help someone who asks nicely for something?”

Man #1: “I didn’t say you could!”

Me: “I didn’t see you around to ask. But if you don’t want me to push your daughter, I’ll be sure to tell her that I can’t if she ever asks me again.”

Man #1: “What about that boy? You couldn’t keep your hands off him!”

Me: *Honestly confused* “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

Man #1: “You were chasing him all over and grabbing him.”

Me: “He wanted me to try to tickle him, so I chased him like he wanted! That’s how kids play.”

Man #1: “He was screaming.”

Me: “Kids scream when they’re having fun, especially when being tickled! He already told you he knew me and I wasn’t bothering him, so clearly he wasn’t hurt by playing with me.”

Man #1: “Where is his mom, then?”

Me: “I told you, she is resting.”

Man #1: “So go get her to tell us that.”

Me: “She’s not in a good condition to talk right now and I’m not waking her up.”

Man #1: “I want to speak to his mother now or I’m going to call the police.”

Me: “I’m not forcing her to get up and come out here because you demand it. Please go ahead and call the police. I’m sure an officer could sort this out.”

What I don’t point out is that I have every intention to report all three men for assault if an officer does get called in. Compelling someone to do something (like answer overly personal questions) through implied threat of physical force is a textbook example of assault, and the fact that this man waited until he could round up two lackeys to help intermediate me before he confronted me is pretty strong evidence that the threat was intentional.

Me: “Look. Neither child is hurt in any way. [Kid] already told you who I was and that he is okay, and besides that, statistically, a child is in drastically more danger with their own father than some random stranger, anyway. You’ve proven—”

Man #3: *Cutting me off* “How would you know that?”

Me: “Because I volunteer with kids! I’ve done training on how to identify, report, and handle potential abuse. I have to know those statistics!”

During this time, the three men have kept closing on me to look more intimidating, and I’ve been slowly backing up every time they moved in on my personal space. This is mostly intentional on my part to drag them away from the playground and the poor child they scared, but as a side effect, we have now backed up enough that we are practically standing next to my friend’s apartment.

Apparently, my friend has overheard their voices, because around this time she appears at her bedroom window, sticking her head out. Her few hours of sleep while I watched her son apparently helped, because I am surprised how much better she looks and sounds, compared to how she was when I first arrived.

Friend: “What are you all doing?”

Man #1: “Do you know this man?”

Friend: “Yes, what’s wrong?”

Man #1: “Did you ask him to babysit that kid?”

Friend: “Yes, he often watches my kids.”

Man #1: “Okay, fine, whatever.” *To me* “You’re lucky.”

I still don’t know how I was “lucky” for being assaulted and threatened by three men for watching a child, but all I cared about was that the three men finally left. I brought my friend’s son back inside after that, and luckily, he was young enough that he mostly forgot about the odd encounter without my needing to do much to comfort him.

However, the man in question was clearly not appeased. Numerous times after that when I was out with my friend’s kids, his son was sent over to ask who I was and what we were doing. The kid was too young to be good at deception, so it was blatantly obvious that his father was the one who sent him over to ask the questions. The man never seemed to accept that I knew and could appreciate visiting the kids without any intent to harm them.

1 Thumbs
421

Reply All, Also Known As “The Party Button”

, , , , , | Friendly | March 29, 2021

Pre-health crisis, my friend sends out an email to a large group of people, inviting them to a party. He includes me on the list.

Me: *Replying to the email* “Sounds great! Can’t wait.”

I hit send and then realize too late that I selected “Reply All” by mistake.

Me: *To myself* “Aw, crap. Well, can’t be helped.”

Two minutes later, I get an email from someone I don’t know.

Unknown Person: “WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU EMAILING MY HUSBAND? WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY ‘CAN’T WAIT’?”

It turned out that she was married to one of the other email recipients. Rather than realizing that I’d accidentally replied to the entire group, or scrolling down to see the original email, she immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion. I made sure to avoid her and her husband at the party.

1 Thumbs
317

Buckets And Buckets And Buckets Of Coal

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Average_Scaper | March 29, 2021

My mom is selling some of her old toys that are rare and in decent condition. She would rather them go to a collector of old toys and not a child, but if the parent chooses to buy them for their child then they must pay the full asking price.

She posts the toys in a sale group, and she gets a message about some items.

The grammar and spelling are presented here exactly as they occurred in the original conversation.

Woman: “Are these still for sale?”

Mom: “Yes, they are $10 ea individually or $50 for all.”

Woman: “Thats way too much for my child”

Mom: “Sorry, that’s what I’m asking and I’m in no rush to sell them.”

Woman: “It’s Christmas and the toys are old and played with allready. I didn’t get my kids gifts yet. I dont have work cos of [the health crisis].”

Mom: “So you want me to just give them to you? I’d prefer these go to a collector. You can go to a resale shop and find toys super cheap. Plus, Christmas literally comes on the same time every year. Plan ahead next time maybe?”

Woman: “Your a b****. Your running my kids Christmas! These toys are garbage. You can give them to me. They not worth money.”

Mom: “Yeah, I AM a b****. I do not give a s*** about your kids Christmas. Maybe you should worry more about you being a s***ty parent who can’t plan ahead than if I can make a buck off a 50 year old toy train, eh? Merry Christmas!”

Since my mom is also the admin of the group, the woman was removed. There had been other complaints about her in the past, so this was the final straw.

1 Thumbs
454

The Kids Are Out For Blood

, , , , , , , | Friendly | March 28, 2021

I am taking a bus home from college. It is around a four-hour trip, and unfortunately, the bus is both late at night and has some short plastic chairs, rather than the big soft chairs you see on some buses. So, I have to just lean my back against the window and try to get as comfortable as I can to try and sleep a bit.

The bus has started moving, and I am just starting to doze off when I feel a sudden sharp pain in my ear. I jerk awake and flail a bit, hitting the source of the pain: a young kid who is standing up on his mom’s lap in the seats behind me, and who had leaned forward to BITE MY EAR.

Naturally, the kid starts bawling after getting hit by my flailing arm, and the mom starts screeching.

Mom: “How dare you hit my—”

I’m not really paying attention, instead reaching up to touch my ear, and when I pull my finger away, it is slick with blood. I hold up my bloody fingertips.

Me: “What the h***?!”

Mom: “You can’t just—”

Me: “Why weren’t you—”

We are both shouting over each other at that point, and most of the people on the bus have turned to look. I start to stand up, aiming to stumble up to the front and see about using the first aid kit I’d seen next to the driver. The lady lunges forward, I guess to try and grab me, and I end up batting her hand away and then winding up a punch. At that point, she lifts up her still-bawling kid, apparently to use him as a human shield.

I don’t punch, just grab my bag and stumble to the front amid quite a few glares from some of the other passengers. I get to the front just as the driver finishes pulling over due to the commotion, and the lights come on as he puts the bus in park.

Bus Driver: “What’s going on back here?”

I raise my voice a bit over the woman’s attempts to shout out her version of events. 

Me: “Her kid bit me.”

I tilted my head to show him, and he actually recoiled, because it turns out that the kid had managed to actually tear the top of my earlobe when he bit down and I jerked away. He headed past me to talk to the woman, and an older lady ended up pulling me to sit by her as she used the first aid supplies to fix up my ear as best she could. The lady was still screaming, but most of my focus was stolen by the pain from the antiseptic wipes.

In the end, the driver walked back up past me and started up the bus. The kid kept crying for a good section of the trip but eventually quieted down. I kept glancing back occasionally, and of course, the woman was glaring at me each time, so once the trip finally ended, I hurried to be the first off the bus. I got down and got my luggage from the compartment underneath, and I was turning to go try to find my parents in the parking lot when I spotted something moving toward me out of the corner of my eye.

It was the kid, charging headlong toward me. I jumped back, which meant that when he went to kick my shin, he ended up falling on his butt, instead. Naturally, his mother was right there to start screaming again, so I turned and booked it. I basically dove into my parent’s van when I saw them in the parking lot, and we drove off.

I didn’t end up telling them about what had happened until we were already home; it was dark enough that they hadn’t seen the bandage on my ear. They were both ready to drive back down and see if they could find the woman, and they gave me an earful about how I should have gotten contact details from the driver and such and talked to the police to make sure my side was on record. I ended up spending most of that break paranoid that the lady would show up with the cops to arrest me for hitting her kid or something. Thankfully, they weren’t on my return bus, and I never saw them again.

1 Thumbs
391

Some Say She’s Still Searching

, , , , | Friendly | March 27, 2021

I am at a festival. A drunk girl walks past me talking on the phone and crying her eyes out.

Drunk Girl: “I keep yelling, ‘Marco,’ but people keep yelling back, ‘Polo.’”

1 Thumbs
322