"Mom, I wanna get out with you" Braden whines as we pull up to the gas pump. "No Braden" I reply "Do you see all these cars driving around? It is just not safe." It was an extremely busy day today at the Albertson's gas station and I didn't think having Jumpy Mc-spazy Pants running around the mini-van would be a good thing.
In an effort to meet him halfway I opened up all the windows and said he could get up and 'walk about the cabin' while I pumped the gas.
After getting out and setting up the automatic pump I got back in the car to start gathering trash to throw away. Braden was standing right behind me looking out the window.
Before I even noticed her approaching, a women with a Valero shirt came up to and then stuck her head and hand INTO the window of the car and spoke directly to Braden...."Hey little man, how would you like a sucker?" Even Braden is a bit perplexed by this women, but quickly recovers to say "YES!" quiet adamantly.
I guess she noticed a particular look on my face because she immediately said (as if she was surprised to see an adult in the front seat) "Oh, well maybe we should ask mom first.... or maybe we should wait until later." she turns to me "Sorry I didn't even think to ask first..."
I smiled politely and nodded. She gave the suckers to Braden and walked off. I was beside myself. WTF, I thought... This woman came right up to and INTO my car and addressed my kid and solicited him with candy....she didn't even ask me, or make contact with me first... What if I had been out of the car still, pumping gas? Would she still have reached into some strangers car and hand some kid candy?
The problem with this sort of thing is that this happens in Abilene, random strangers giving out candy to kids. And each time I encounter it, it makes me uncomfortable. They walk up with a sucker, or chocolate or a cookie and without even asking me approach my kid and ask HIM if he wants the sugar... like he's gonna say no.... jeeze.
It's not just women either... there is a 'candy man' at church who keeps Jolly Ranchers in his PANTS pockets and hands them out to the kids after the service. (that one really creeps me out)
What bothers me even more about this is that I am not sure if I have the right to be bothered. I can't tell if the lady stepped over the line or was just being southern. Living down here for almost 5 years has robbed me of the ability to correctly weed out a sketchy situation. I just still don't understand the forwardness of southern people sometimes... especially when it comes to kids.
I can just see my friends now "oh Julia" they'd say "whats wrong with a total stranger handy out candy to kids? They are just being friendly." I don't really have a good answer to that. Because if you don't think that it is creepy to begin with, then I don't know if I could explain it to you. How can I teach my children about strangers, and the dangers they pose if any time I try to refuse candy from these people I am considered rude?