Catching up and a story: Code Adam.

We are still unpacking and getting settled into our house but it’s already feeling like home. It helps to know that, barring unforeseen circumstances, we should never have to move again.

Today I wanted to take a break from unpacking to share something experienced by my husband and JD (5) while they were out shopping yesterday.

As you can probably imagine after moving, it seems like we are at Lowes or Home Depot daily, and that was where my husband and JD were when the ‘incident’ as I like to call it, happened. The shopping was done and the boys were checking out. The cashier convinced Mr. Hamp to sign up for a Home Depot credit card because she could give him the $30 shower sprayer he was buying for free, and 10% off the rest of his order. Awesome! Unfortunately that is where things became chaotic to say the least.

JD who had insisted on sitting in the shopping cart, decided he wanted to get out and move around. In the confusion of trying to answer the cashier’s questions for the credit, my husband lost sight of JD and casually mentioned to the cashier that he had lost track of his kid. Now, he wasn’t asking for help. He was NOT reporting a missing child. I assume he only mentioned it so the cashier would understand when he walked away for a moment. I would have done exactly the same thing.

His cashier, who happened to be the shift-manager, must have heard something different because she immediately went into action. She called a Code Adam. All employees shift into gear to find the missing child, the store is in lock-down. The shift manager answers another customer’s innocent question with “I CAN’T HELP YOU NOW, CAN’T YOU SEE WE’VE GOT A CODE ADAM” (or something like that). Seriously, to hear Mr. Hamp tell the story, it was pandemonium.

My husband is flustered, taken aback by the over-reaction which seemed more “OMG, A CHILD HAS BEEN STOLEN,” instead of, “Oops my active 5 year old got curious and decided to check out the rock salt just around the corner where I can’t see him.” Bewildered, JD who didn’t know he had done anything wrong, was quickly located and a stranger led him by the arm back to dad.

I know if it had been me, I would have been mortified. I understand that stores need to have procedures in place for particular situations. But a little common sense should be used before putting the procedure into action. My husband wasn’t given even a few minutes to look for JD before the alarm was called. My kids have the run of our small neighborhood, go to public restrooms by themselves, and even sometimes are trusted to {gasp!} go out of sight in the grocery store to grab something I forgot from an earlier aisle! In short, they know how to handle themselves when out of mommy and daddy’s sight. My husband wasn’t panicked, why was the employee? Could it be that the media has drilled into our collective psyche that children are in danger every second of the day (even though it’s not true)? Perhaps it was simply inexperience that caused the manager to over-react. I really don’t know. I’m not saying Code Adam shouldn’t exist. I’m just saying that it should be rarely used, because it is extremely rare for children to be abducted by strangers in public. Isn’t there something that can be done BEFORE all out panic ensues scaring everyone for no good reason?

Most people do not need to experience code Adam. My husband and child should not have experienced code Adam. It’s not a big deal in the long run, it just makes me wonder where we are going if we are afraid all the time.

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One response to “Catching up and a story: Code Adam.

  1. That is crazy! She really should have waited a minute for him to find JD. Good grief!

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