Alexander Pope should be spinning in his grave today. He's the guy who said, "To err is human, to forgive divine." But I'm pretty sure he didn't mean police should be forgiving the parents who didn't realize they'd "accidentally" left their 3-year-old at a Maryland Chuck E. Cheese until they saw her face on the 11 o'clock news.
But that's exactly what happened this week in Bel Air, Maryland. Police were called to the kiddie restaurant around 8 p.m. on Sunday to help a lost little girl named Harmony who approached a restaurant manager to say she was a little thirsty. But they didn't get a call from Harmony's mom and dad until after 11 ... after her picture was plastered on every TV screen in town. And they still gave her back!
That is some mighty powerful forgiveness right there! Maybe too powerful?
The parents, who share custody but seem to be split up, apparently told the coppers that they'd been at a "large party" at the Chuck E. Cheese, and they each thought their daughter had gone off with another member of the family. Then lo and behold her sweet little face topped off with a pink ribbon ends up on the news. The parents called, and Child Protective Services handed Harmony right over to her mom. They're even saying they won't file charges.
Gee whiz, I mean, they were watching TV that night. Totally awesome job there folks.
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling sort of lost here. I know accidents happen and people get forgetful. I mean, just the other day I walked in the bathroom to take out my contacts and realized I'd taken the solution into the living room. So you know, I had to just walk right back in there and get that bottle.
Except little girls are not bottles of contact solution. And when you forget little girls, horrible, awful, terrible things can happen. Harmony was just 3 years old. When my kid was 3, you had better believe I either had my eyes on her in public places or made sure someone else did. Made sure. As in, I didn't assume she was with my mom or my brother or my husband or my bestie. I physically walked her over to another responsible adult, looked them square in the eye, and said, "So, you have her, right?" and got an affirmative (vocally!) before I relinquished my control.
I'm not saying either of Harmony's parents meant to leave her at the Chuck E. Cheese. I'll even go with the word that CPS use: this could have been "inadvertent." But "inadvertent" doesn't mean "excusable." And that's what everyone seems to have done in Bel Air this week ... excused the crap out of some spectacularly crappy parenting. Check out more on this crazy story:
What do you think should be done with these parents? Parenting classes? Community service?
Image via Harford County Sheriff’s Office