I’ve never had (nor really desired) children of my own, so I try to refrain from the childless person’s greatest sin – giving parents child-rearing advice.

Even when I really want to.

Take last week at work as an example. A customer came in with a little boy of about eight or so. She went in to see one of the representatives and left him in the lobby. After about ten minutes he started walking around, poking his head into everyone’s office, wandering up to the tellers. He put a quarter in our coin sorter, and then cashed in the receipt so he could do it again. He asked several employees, myself included, if we had anything he could do. I gave him some blank paper and some pens, which he scribbled on for a few seconds and then abandoned on the floor. (When the woman he was with asked him later if he had done it, he told her no.)

When he finally made it back to the lobby chairs, where he was supposed to be, he found the courtesy phone.

As far as I could tell, he was dialing random numbers and hanging up. I received several calls from people wanting to know why they got a call from [ghostbank], so I asked the boy very politely to stop playing with the phone. He wandered around a little bit more and then came back to the phone. Within about ten minutes I fielded four calls from 911, telling me that they had gotten a hang-up from our number. The fourth 911 operator told me it was a child who kept calling, because he had spoken to him for a minute before disconnecting. (He hung up because I had caught him on the phone again, I could tell he was talking to someone and figured he was playing again.)

He wasn’t being loud or obnoxious, which would have almost been preferable. A crying and screaming child can usually manage to draw their guardian’s attention to their actions, but he was like a very short, disruptive ninja. You never knew what he was going to do until he did it.

During all of this, the woman the boy was with could see him walking around but stayed in the representative’s office. She did absolutely nothing, never even moved from her seat. It turned out she was his grandmother; his mother was waiting out in the car while they spent over half an hour in the office.

I really do not understand people some time.

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