Today, it was really cold and snowy.
It reminded me of another cold and snowy day, about eight years ago…a day I’ve tried to forget, without success.
I was a waitress in a sportsbar, at the time. I had just stepped out back for a cigarette break after a busy lunchtime rush.
The wind was blowing the flurrying snowflakes across the parking lot, and the air was so frigid that I couldn’t tell my cigarette smoke from my breath.
That’s when I heard it… a sobbing voice, crying out from across the blacktop: “Daaaaddddd!”
At first, I thought I’d imagined it. Then, I heard it, again: “DAAAAAAAAAD! *sob* DAAAAAAAAAD!!!”
The voice was coming from the direction of the only vehicle in the lot, a rugged pick up truck with a cap covering the bed.
Someone had left a child in their truck, out here in the cold, while they were in the bar.
As quickly as I could, I rushed back inside and beckoned my manager. He followed me out to the parking lot as I explained the situation.
Almost immediately, he heard the sorrowful voice…. “Daaaaaaad.”
His eyes widened, then narrowed, in anger.
“What should we do?” I asked.
He tossed me his cellphone. “You call the police,” he said. “I’m going to make sure that son of a bitch stays put until they get here.”
I did as I was instructed, peeking into the bar as the manager approached the customer we suspected had driven in, in that truck.
“Hey,” the manager said. “Do you drive that blue pick up, out back?”
The man looked at him, curiously. “Yeah,” he said. “Why? What’s up?”
“Do you have a kid in that truck?” The manager asked.
The man paused before responding, “Yeah…I put him in the back, in the bed. Why? Is there a problem?”
“Are you SERIOUS?” our bartender blurted. “Do you know how cold it is?”
The man scoffed. “He’s fine. He’s got a blanket, and I’m taking him home as soon as I get done with my sandwich.”
“I don’t think so,” the manager fumed. “We’ve called the police, and they are on their way. They might have different plans for you.”
At that, the man stood up from the stool and started toward the door. The manager grabbed him and pulled him back. “Not so fast, buddy,” he said, “They’re going to be here any minute, and they’re wanting to talk to you.”
The officers were there within a matter of minutes, and they walked in to find the manager (a kickboxer and cage fighter, in his spare time) and the driver of the truck (a burly cornfed kind of guy), getting ready to spar in the middle of the bar.
When they demanded an explanation, the manager told them that the guy had left his kid in the cab of his truck while he came in here to eat.
I won’t repeat what the burly guy said, but it was a non-family friendly version of “mind your own business.”
One of the officers interrupted the two men and asked how old the child was.
Suddenly, the truck owner got a strange look on his face. He stared at the officer, in silence. The officer repeated the question, and the man burst out in the rollicking cackle of a sheer lunatic.
Gesturing toward the door, he told the officers to “Come on out and ask him, yourself! Maybe you guys will want to babysit his ass, for a while.”
He led the officers out to the truck and stood, watching, as they opened the back.
There, in the bed, was a large cage… the kind that dogs or small livestock are transported in. Inside of the cage, clad in a blanket, was a young goat.
He greeted the officers with a bleating cry: “DAAAAAAD!”
NOT a proud moment, in my life…