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16 February 2016 @ 09:53 pm
Milk of human kindness, somewhat curdled.  
Heading home from the bus stop this afternoon, I was approached by a boy whose age I guessed to be around 12 - 13 who asked me how far it was to his home town. He told me where he'd set off from and it was a good three hour walk already, which explained his overheated appearance. And all he wanted to do was get back home, but he had no money,and no phone to call his mum. Trouble was, home was another seventeen kilometres away.

I called his mum for him, and he arranged to meet her outside Cash Converters ("You know where you hock your computer all the time?" he asked her.) It was still daylight, and I figured he'd be okay, so I continued home. But the closer I got, the worse I felt; what if that was my son, and he was left to his own devices in a strange place? And he'd said he was starving, too. I decided that once I'd got home I'd grab something for him out of my cupboards then head back and wait for his mum with him. (yes, I shouldn't have left him, I realised that later - kid that young, what was I thinking?). All I could find that was unopened was a packet of chips, and the kid was already obese so I didn't want to take those for him. And then I started thinking - what if he's allergic to something? Like gluten, or lactose? What if I gave him something that made him sick? What if I took him that half a block of chocolate, or some biscuits from my bikkie tin, or a slice of fruitcake, and his mum accused me of trying to poison him? Seriously, this is what I was thinking, and hating that the world has reached the point that I DO have these thoughts.

In the end I contented myself with getting him a bottle of water - it had been a hot day, and was still around thirty degrees - then grabbed my car keys and drove back to wait with him. I'm glad I did, too; it took his mum fortyfive minutes to come and get him and by the time she arrived storm clouds had blown up and it was pitch black. God knows what she was doing for all that time.

While we waited I managed to get a bit of his story from him. He is in foster care, and he had a fight with his carers who apparently took his money off him, so he decided to head home. He reckoned his case officer said it was okay, as long as it was only for one night. I hope he's right. I was concerned about him going back to his mum if he wasn't supposed to be with her but he wouldn't give any clues about his carers' whereabouts and was keen to get home, which I figured wouldn't be the case if he was abused at all. I think his mum just lacked the means to care for him and his little sister, who is also in care elsewhere.

I hope he's okay. And I still feel bad that I couldn't even take him something to eat, being too worried about any potential consequences for me. And I hate that the state of the world made me worry about something like that.
Current Mood: crankycranky
Spencer's Journalspencer5460 on February 16th, 2016 01:36 pm (UTC)
That is terribly upsetting. Nothing gets to me more than mistreated kids. And, like you, I probably wouldn't have known exactly what to do. I volunteered as a guardian ad litem for the family court system a few years back until it got to be too much of a conflict with my job.
This year I've been working with a group that takes disabled children skiing. When I retire, I hope to do more volunteer work with children. Every time I get down about something, all I have to do is think how amazingly fortunate I am to have a roof over my head and food in my pantry. And my health, of course.
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on February 18th, 2016 10:57 am (UTC)
I've seen the photos of your skiing group, and honestly I think you're amazing doing the work you do with them. But yes, things like this are a bit of a reality check, aren't they - really puts our own problems into perspective.
byslantedlight: Doyle Lean (snarkyllama)byslantedlight on February 16th, 2016 02:34 pm (UTC)
Good for you that you helped at all - I reckon alot of people would have walked on by to start with. It is awful that we have to worry/suspect each other these days - which is another reason alot of people would have just walked by, especially with a teenage boy. I must admit that I read, desperately hoping this didn't turn out to be a scam of some kind, and you weren't going to be mugged or something - and I hate that too!

And well-done for going back to wait with him, even if you didn't feel you could take him anything to eat. I don't suppose you'll find out how it turned out, but here's hoping that it does, for all of them...
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on February 18th, 2016 11:00 am (UTC)
I must admit that I read, desperately hoping this didn't turn out to be a scam of some kind, and you weren't going to be mugged or something - and I hate that too! We're conditioned to be suspicious and expect the worst of people, now, and that is such a shame.
Strike while the irony is hot: [EMATE] HUGS C'MEREdraycevixen on February 16th, 2016 05:55 pm (UTC)
*squishes you very hard indeed*

I totally get how you're feeling but you did try to help him, you did make sure he got some water and you did wait with him. I'm sad to say it but most people wouldn't have done any of these things.
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on February 18th, 2016 11:03 am (UTC)
My conscience got the better of me, I have to say. I couldn't have just gone on with my evening without knowing he was safe.
P.R. Zed: pros mixed doubles gunrangeprzed on February 17th, 2016 03:30 am (UTC)
You did good. It's a horrible situation for any kid to be in, and it's good you were there to help him out as much as you could.
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on February 18th, 2016 11:05 am (UTC)
I did try, although I do feel guilty for maybe not doing enough (although I did use my "mum" voice when he started defacing a sign while we waited *g*)
P.R. Zed: pros mixed doubles gunrangeprzed on February 18th, 2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
Ah, the "mum" voice. Always useful. (Before I became a mum, I also had the teacher voice to fall back on. *g*)
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on February 19th, 2016 03:33 pm (UTC)
That reminds me... scrolling through "People you may know" on LinkedIn recently, and up you popped. The name didn't register at first but then I thought "hang on, I know that face!".
The world is smaller than we realise, I think.
P.R. Zed: bodie psycho by snarkyllamaprzed on February 19th, 2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
Now you know why I go by Zed. *g*