Jodie Norton is a mother to four children and the creator of the blog, “Time Well Spent.”
In a blog post written in May 2016, Norton discussed a situation that became a valuable learning lesson. She was showering then hit with an unbearable pain that left her “doubled over, light-headed, and incredibly nauseous.”
Being the only adult home at the time, the mom of four somehow managed to get herself and her kids dressed and in the car and drove to an emergency room that was five minutes away.
While on her way to the ER, Norton got a hold of her parents, who arranged for their neighbor to take her two oldest boys to school. Norton assumed her neighbor was home and that it would only take five minutes to get to her boys.
She was wrong — the neighbor was 40 minutes away.
In her intense pain, Norton made what she calls a “stupid” decision. She let her eight-year-old and ten-year-old sons sit outside of the hospital alone to wait for their ride.
During that time they encountered three “tricky people.”
Norton explained on her blog:
“While on that bench, they were approached by an adult female and two punk males who asked them if they’d 'help them out by going into the bathroom where her boyfriend was hiding from the doctor and see if they could convince him to come out and get treated.'”
Her oldest, CJ, respectfully told the stranger “no, thank you,” but the female continued to engage.
She told them that if they could just help her convince her boyfriend to get help, they could save his life. CJ intelligently refused to help the woman out.
Norton recalled how the situation progressed:
“CJ said he returned all three of their pleas for help with a 'no, thank you,' each stronger than the last, before they finally let up. Shortly afterward, the neighbor showed up and my boys jumped in his car, but, not before they saw a third adult male come out from the bathroom, jump into the car with these other three hooligans and drive off.”
The mom admitted the story — and her decision to leave her kids out on the bench to wait for a ride — made her “sick.”
However, she said she felt “grateful” when CJ told her the reason he decided to not help them out:
“Mom, I knew they were tricky people because they were asking us for help. Adults don’t ask kids for help.”
The “tricky people” concept is one she taught her children long ago.
Norton explained that “tricky people” are the new strangers; the concept was born thanks to the creator of “Safely Ever After,” Pattie Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald believes that instead of telling their children to not talk to any strangers, parents should teach their kids which strangers they should avoid, and which strangers are safe.
One of the safety tips Fitzgerald highlights is that a “safe adult” who needs help will ask another adult for help, not a child.
Some of her other safety tips include:
Know your name, as well as your parents' names, address, and phone numbers.
Never go anywhere or take anything from someone you don't know.
Always check in with a “safe-smarts grownup” before doing anything new.
You don't have to be polite to a grown-up who is making you uncomfortable.
Always pay attention to your inner voice, especially if you get an “uh-oh” feeling.
Norton wrote that she notified the police about her children's experience and that they pulled surveillance footage from the hospital's security cameras to help them locate the predators.
The mom hopes that her boys' story will encourage other parents to sit down with their children and make sure they truly understand what to do in a similarly uncomfortable situation.