#294 In which our hero foolishly leaves his child alone in the car to hilarious (?) effect.
Couple weeks ago I picked up the girls from daycare. This is not an unusual thing, since The Scientist and I split picking up duties pretty much 50/50, on average. When we got home I got out of the car, then opened the rear passenger side door to let the girls out. Macey, who is 5, instead of getting out, climbed across the seats to sit in the driver’s seat.
Now, this isn’t unusual either. Both girls love to do this. Mostly, I’d guess, because I make a big deal out of it, saying things like “Hey! You aren’t old enough o drive!” or “Let me see your driver’s license!” The result is always much giggling.
Macey in particular likes to turn the wheel (what little she can) and push buttons. I’ve forbidden them from honking the horn though, because that’s obnoxious. There’s been a few occasions where I’ve turned on the car later to have the wipers on, which makes me smile.
So, I got the mail, then went to unlock the door to the house. About this time I heard Lily say, in a somewhat alarmed voice, “Daddy! The car’s rolling away!”
And indeed it was.
I turned to find it already halfway down the driveway. Our driveway has a slight incline, which I discovered is just enough to set the car rolling if a little girl somehow manages to put it into neutral.
I clearly remember saying, “Holy shit!” then taking off running after the car. Across the street from our driveway is a big tree in the neighbor’s yard. I really don’t know how, but the car managed to miss it, and roll partway up the opposite driveway. I tore open the door and yanked the wheel away from the tree, but the car was already losing speed by this time. I sat down and jammed on the brakes.
Amazingly, no harm done.
As soon as I opened the door Macey started yelling, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Once the car was back in park, I lifted her up and gave her a big hug. I think she was more worried about me being angry with her, because it was only after she saw that I wasn’t going to yell at her that she started to cry.
She was a little scared, but not terribly so. She recovered quickly.
For my part, I laughed it off. I was still amazed that the car didn’t roll into that tree, but considering that it didn’t, then no harm done, huh?
It wasn’t until I told The Scientist the story later that I realized what a close call it really was.
“Good thing Lily wasn’t behind the car,” she said.
I hadn’t thought of that.
“And good thing the neighbor kids weren’t out,” she said.
I hadn’t thought of that, either. But she was right, our street, especially the stop right in front of our driveway, is usually full of kids playing football or riding their bikes. If the car had rolled into a pack of unsuspecting kids, someone could have been killed.
You see stuff like this on the news every day, and you wonder how the parents can be so irresponsible. Well, this is how. By letting your kid fool around in the car, just like she has done a dozen times before.
So, the girls and I had a talk, and we all agreed not to play in the car any more. It didn’t take much convincing.
That’s one less thing to worry about. Until they turn 16 and want to get their driver’s licenses, that is.