Children are innocent, vulnerable and learning about the world we live in but some people seem to think otherwise.
When I left for my lunch break today I saw a young man asking passing-by women if a small girl stood outside a casino was their’s and to be honest, at the time, I didn’t know what shocked me most – the fact that this young girl was left on her own or the fact that women were walking straight past this guy because of the way he was dressed, not giving him or what he had to say, the time of day.
Not knowing what to do, I checked with the guy if I had heard him right, before walking over towards the girl. Crouched down on the floor next to her I started to talk to her, asking her name and where her mummy was. I didn’t get much out of her, no more than the word mum, but she couldn’t have been any older than three at the very most. After staying with her for a bit, holding her hand, the guy carried on looking around the street for anyone to come running, but instead, a woman in her late 30’s came strolling down the street as calm as ever, and when I say down the street, I don’t mean a few paces away, she was at the other end of town, crossing over from the other side of the road. Not phased at all by the fact that her daughter was sat with a stranger holding her hand the woman came over stating that the girl was hers and that she told her to wait for her here while she went up the road into Greggs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mother myself and therefore cannot base anything on experience, but it was at this point that I really was unsure whether it was right to pass this small child back over to this woman that felt it acceptable to leave her in the middle of a busy city street by herself while she went and brought herself lunch.. Everyone has a different approach to parenting but I really don’t think this is an approach to take. While it would be amazing to live in a world where children could walk around safely, to not have to worry about the people around you but unfortunately we don’t and those most at risk are children. Their vulnerability and innocence is there to be protected by parents. It is a parents role to protect their child until they are old enough to do so for themselves.
If it wasn’t for the guy asking people to help, I don’t know what would have happened to that little girl today. No one else thought to stop and ask where her mum was. No one thought to check if she was ok, or if she needed help, the only person that did was this young man, one that most of society judge and ignore all based on looks.
While we don’t live in a world where we can stroll around without worry, where children can play outside on their own without parents checking on their whereabouts, we can live in a world where our children and their vulnerability protected but in order to do this, we need to be more open minded about the people we pass on a daily basis. On face value, society would favour the mother that left her daughter on a city corner to buy her lunch rather than the young boy in a tracksuit looking to bring this young girl to safety.
So next time you see a child on their own, check to see if there’s anyone near them, or you’re approached by someone asking for help, think about the real picture and the people actually involved. Appearance shouldn’t be the matter of judgement in society, there is more to a person than their clothes.