Dear Unfit Parent, I Have Your Licence Plate Number

I live in one of the nicest areas of my city. It’s reasonably well to do and people have everything they need, nice houses with front and back yards, multiple cars, pretty parks, boutique shopping, quaint restaurants. So you have to think people in the area have their heads screwed on pretty well.

Today, I waited with arms full of groceries at a stranger’s car for at least 5 minutes. I asked any one who walked by if it was their car, if they knew who owned the car, but to no avail. I copied down the licence plate while I waited. Finally, when the owner returned, I yelled at him loud and aggressively for at least another 5 minutes. He stood there and took it for a while until he asked if we could talk on the sidewalk instead of the middle of street. You see, it’s dangerous to stand in the middle of the street while a complete stranger yells at you.

unattended child

So I know what you’re asking. Annie, you’re a relatively quiet person, you never raise your voice except to laugh and joke, heck we can’t even hear your voice when you speak at conferences without a microphone, what could possibly boil your blood like this?


Here is his reasoning.

  • The car wasn’t hot
  • His kid was safe
  • No one ever gets kidnapped in this city
  • I had no proof that kids get kidnapped or that it’s not safe for a child to be left in a car unattended

Wanna know my reasoning? When I was training to be a Psychologist, one of my professors shared with us that any time he sees an adult hitting a child in public, he yells at them. His intent is to embarrass them so completely that they take a step back and think about what they’re doing. Hence, today, I did my best to embarrass the hell out of this “gentleman” as best as I possibly could.

And you know what? This is the SECOND time I have yelled at a perfect stranger for this exact same reason.

So I ask of you two things.

  1. If you EVER see an unattended child, on the street, in a store, in a car, call 911, wait with the child and then yell your ass off at the parent when they return.
  2. Go to your local Children’s Aid Society website and show your support. Because one day, you might be helping the child of one the parents I have yelled at.


6 responses

  1. My mother always said, “common sense isn’t all that common”.

  2. In Arizona, it’s illegal. Of course, in Arizona it’s also deadly; every summer we hear about a child or two dying or coming very close because parents leave them in the car. It’s also illegal to do to a dog here. You are legally allowed (in both cases) to break the window and remove the child/pet to safety, although they prefer it if you call law enforcement. [First if the situation isn’t immediately life threatening, after if it is.]

    This state may be messed up, but at least SOME things make sense.

    1. Glad to hear that sanity prevails somewhere.

  3. For this situation, one does not need any evidence of mishap. It is interesting, how sometime we rely too much on data and do not use common sense……that said, it is so difficult to picture you as angry and yelling on someone…..very hard to imagine…..:)

    1. I am slowly realizing that my common sense isn’t the common sense of other people.

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