How paranoid are you about the potential of someone snatching your baby or child? We all have that worry somewhere in the back of our minds that there is the possibility of it happening, but I am an optimist, I try to be aware of the possibility not let it become an obsession. In the last few years there have been some extreme cases of attempted baby/child snatching in the Toronto area. There was a case where a model organised a phony casting call for infants and using a Beck Taxi stole a baby. The child was returned and she has since been sentenced. There was an incident where a 4 yr old girl was taken from her bed in the middle of the night. She was quickly found as well, but it’s a scary thing to read these stories as it seems they are becoming more commonplace.
Obviously as very proud new parents C and I think Little Miss is the most beautiful baby in the world. We both have seen these stories and many more and decided most recently after sereral stories where the parents were with the child and would be abductors still tried to make off with the children to increase our vigilance. When we are out whether shopping or just travelling on he TTC we always make sure the the stroller or shopping cart Little Miss is in is in front of us and we have a hand holding onto it. We make sure to never have our backs turned away from her and try to stay aware of those around us. Even when we’re on the subway and she’s sleeping I don’t take my attention off of Little Miss. I used to read on the TTC and now I usually focus on her and the other people in the area.
This isn’t just a random post. Last week Little Miss and I were at the grocery store I’ve been going to since I moved back to Toronto. I’ve gotten to know several of the full time empoylees well enough to have minor chitchat about our day to day lives. They see Little Miss and say hi and comment on her growth and development. This is not creepy. Last week as I got her settled into the shopping cart Little Miss drew the usual baby lovers to her like flies. Lots of ‘Oh, she’s so pretty’s and ‘Look at that smile!’s. There was one woman who smiled at us but kept back a few feet. As we wove our way around the fresh produce section I noticed the woman who stayed back constantly in my peripheral vision a lot. I decided to pay closer attention while still shopping. As we continued persuing the aisles I became aware that not she seemed to be following us. Not the ‘oh we haappen to be going down the same aisles’ following. I don’t shop in a linear fashion. I’m more of a random/flitterer shopper going up and down aisles as I’m interested, very hard to accidentally have the exact same shopping pattern as I have. This woman was following following Little Miss. Not me, my baby. She would barely look at me but was constantly staring at the baby. She would stay at least 10 feet away but come on, I’m not stupid and my warning bells were blaring. I had a minor case of stalking and even they were more subtle then this woman was. This was blatant out in the open following us.
Finally I’d had enough. I was getting really creeped out and scared. what if this woman with the intense smile and eyes decided to get too close. I didn’t know her, I have no clue what she wants or intends. She could be harmless, but in those moments that’s not what I’m thinking. My only thought is to keep my baby safe. I went over to the customer service desk and said something was wrong. She’s one of the people I know somewhat. She asked what was wrong and as I started to tell her the woman following us quickly left. She abandoned her EMPTY shopping cart and just walked away. Even though the woman left I gave her description and now the store is on alret for her. They have cameras and are going to be on the lookout for is she returns. I have also chosen to change our shopping habits for a bit. No more going at the same time or day. We’re going to shake things up a bit in case she returns. Looking back now that it’s been about a week I can see things more clearly and calmly, but it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do the exact same thing. I did not know her or her intentions and I can truly say that as paranoid as I’ve lelt sometimes keeping so much attention on my daughter I no longer do, I feel somewhat justified.
This situation ended wel, but you never know when something can go wrong. I`m not telling telling anyone else how to react or chose to look after their children when out in public, but I feel that I should just reiterate being careful and always going with your gut if something feels off to you.