Saturday, November 24, 2012

Some Good Parenting on Black Friday

A man came into the bookstore with his little boy. The man, maybe in his early 30's, about 6'3" tall, with short brown hair, and wearing a red t-shirt with a blue pullover sweater and jeans, came to the register. His little boy, about five years old, wearing a dark blue raincoat, was blond and quiet.

"Do you have a piece of paper I can use?", he asked.

"Sure," I said, getting a piece of paper from the printer and giving it to him.

About ten minutes later, the man and the boy came back to the register. The man put a small Legos building set on the counter.

The man said, "He has something to tell you, but he couldn't say it, so he wrote it down for you." A co-worker and I moved from behind the register so we could see the boy. The boy handed me the piece of paper. On it, in large crooked printed letters, we read:

          "I'm sory. I stole the legos.
            I'm here to pay you back."

The boy looked at the floor.

We both started talking to the boy, "Thank you for coming back and being honest. The most important thing is that you were honest and you came back to take care of what you did wrong," we both said.

The dad picked the boy up and said, gently and firmly, "Did you hear what they said? They said that the most important thing was to be honest."

The boy tucked his head in his dad's arms, face crumpling. He couldn't look at us.

The dad pointed to the Lego set on the counter. "This is the same one he took, but he completely dismantled it at home before we knew what was going on, so we'll pay for this one and leave it here." I rang up the Lego set and he paid for it.

I tried to catch the boy's eye, "It's really important that you were honest and came back," I said again. "Thank you for coming back, I know it's hard," I said, my own voice breaking.

"Thank you," the dad said to us. "See?", he said to his son, "They weren't mad, they said it was good to be honest. We have to come back and fix things when we do something wrong," he said, making sure his son understood.

I still have the note the son wrote.

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  1. What a good parent! I can only imagine what a powerful a lesson that was for the boy.
    I was thinking about you on Black Friday. Whew. Sorry you had to work it but glad you had this experience too.

  2. Black Friday actually went pretty well. Customers were (for the most part) polite and patient and it was (for the most part) not too crazy and stressful. And seeing this dad made my day.