I was walking through the new outlet mall on Tuesday (seriously, it’s my new favorite place, and I am fully prepared to admit that I may have an addiction) when I saw a young mother next to the brick fireplace that sits in the center of it (it’s an outdoor mall). Her three or four year old daughter was holding her hand while she stood up on the ledge, and they were walking circles around it together.
I didn’t think much of it. But as I was passing, a dark bearded man, bundled in a wool coat and at least ten years older than the mother approached the pair.
“Miss, you’re going to need to get your daughter down from there,” he said very authoritatively. “It’s against mall policy.”
She laughed and didn’t move her daughter.
“Miss, I can call the authorities right now and have you arrested for child endangerment. Is that what you want?” He looked passively ticked. I was getting passively ticked myself. There was definitely nothing overly dangerous about what this mom was doing with her child.
“Hm.” She replied.
He stared her down.
The young mother didn’t flinch and looked at him square in the eyes. “Let me tell you what’s going to happen,” she said. At this point I had inched closer, awkwardly wondering if things were about to get ugly. “We’re going to stay here, and keep doing what we were doing.”
“Oh really?” he snorted back.
She smiled. “Yep. And let me tell you what you’re going to do. You’re going to walk over to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and you’re going to buy me and my daughter a caramel apple and bring it back here.”
“A caramel apple? You really think I’m going to go buy you a caramel apple?”
Again she smiled. “It’s either that or call your little authorities.” She said it with the biggest and cutest attitude I’d ever seen.
Then, and this was unexpected, he said, “what kind do you want?”
She began whispering to her daughter, settled on something, told him what they wanted, and he disappeared around the corner. I should have skedaddled but I really wanted to see if this guy was going to do it. And I didn’t see the harm in hanging around. They seemed oblivious that I had parked it against the brick fireplace myself, pretending to do something on my phone.
A few minutes later the man appeared again, carrying a brown paper sack. He held it out to her. She began laughing, reached out, and pulled him into her.
And gave him a kiss.
Judging by the way they kissed, I’m pretty sure that I was the real sucker because I was buying this couple’s roleplaying silliness hook, line, and sinker.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. This blog post has also been recorded as a podcast. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing.