Dumb and Dumber

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. - Police say two new parents left their baby alone in a car while they went to watch the Kentucky Derby at a New York off-track betting parlour.

Southampton Town police say the two-month-old was left unattended for more than 20 minutes during Saturday's race.

Police say the mother later told officers she thought the infant was safe enough because the car's heat was on.

The car was left running in a busy parking lot outside the Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. branch in Southampton, on Long Island.

The parents were arrested on misdemeanor child-endangerment charges.

You know what gets me about this? A few years ago I was at Winners in Regina with my sister Ang and my friend Ang. I was waiting just outside for Ang (friend) to come and pick us up, while Ang (sister) went into the store to shop. Ang (friend) had our two boys in the van with her and was driving around to keep them happy while Ang (sister) and I shopped. I know I was out by the door at least five minutes before I noticed the sound of a baby crying. Assuming it was Ang (friend) in the van, and that one or both of our kids were crying and that she needed help, I started walking around the parking lot looking for her. I didn't see the van anywhere though. I couldn't figure out where the crying sound was coming from. As I walked back to the store I passed close by a minivan and found the source of the crying. A baby, alone, strapped into its carseat and screaming its little head off. (It was crying so loudly that I could hear it clearly from the inside of a closed van parked around 30 yards away from where I was standing.)

As I was standing there wondering what to do, a woman approached me and started yelling at me for leaving my baby alone in a vehicle. Once I explained that it wasn't my baby we scanned the parking lot and discussed what we should do. (While the poor little baby continued screaming in the van.) After about ten minutes of standing around waiting for the parent, and at about the point where I started to cry, she called the police on her cell phone. They took our names and the license plate number of the van, and said they'd send someone over.

At this point, we came up with the bright idea of paging the missing parent over the store PA system. Brilliant. We should have thought of it earlier, but we didn't. The other woman went into the store while I stood for another five minutes or so crying with the baby crying in the van beside me. At this point Ang (friend) pulled up with our children and I climbed into our van to explain to her what was going on. After a few more minutes, the woman who went in to page the mother came out and just as she was getting back to the van the mother of the baby FINALLY arrived.

Where had she been? Shopping in Winners along with her 5ish year old daughter. Why had she left the baby alone in the van? It had just fallen asleep when she left it, and she didn't want to wake it, and after all, she was only running in for a few minutes.

Oh. Great thinking. I know what it's like, shopping with little ones, and I know how crappy it can be to have them barely fall asleep and then have to wake them up, but come ON! Rather than wake your little one, you leave it alone and unprotected in a parking lot just off of the trans-Canada highway? Because shopping at Winners is THAT important? How about this for a brain-wave? GO HOME! Winners will still be there tomorrow. I promise.

I know it was at least a 20 minute (probably closer to 30 actually) shopping trip because I never saw her enter the store while I was standing outside the doors waiting. (I would have remembered her cute little daughter, if nothing else.) I know we were waiting for her by the van for fifteen minutes at the very least, plus there was the five minute search through the parking lot, and the talk with Ang (friend) in the van... The police didn't arrive before she left, and even though
there were two witnesses and we gave them the license plate number, which would have been enough information to track her, I was never contacted and I never heard another word about it.

I wonder how often things like this happen and never end up splashed across the international news. I bet that couple from the States wishes they'd left their baby alone in a car in Regina instead of New York.


  1. Have I told this story before? I feel like I have. I should probably go search the archives.

  2. That is crazy! What happens to their baby now?

  3. I can't believe that the police didn't come or phone you for a statement or that at the very least the police notify social services. If they had you would have been contacted for questioning.


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