Last year November, I took Hamish down to a local shopping centre, as I’ve done a thousand times.
One of my elder sons, 23, joined us and we were going to buy a few things to make breakfast.
Along the way we stopped to greet some people we know, also nothing new or out of the ordinary.
A huge shock
Inside as we went to the deli,we were greeted by a family who recognized us and as I had Hamish sitting inside the back of the trolley, they came over to talk to him.
Out of nowhere, a well dressed man bumped me out the way to peek into the trolley and talk to Hamish.
I watched as my elder son tightened his grip on the trolley and I saw my own hand protectively stop this man who insisted in trying to touch Hamish as he leaned into the trolley.
I don’t remember the exact words but I insisted we had to leave, as we walked to the furthest end of the shop away from the deli.
After what seemed like enough time for the man to have left the deli we headed back. As we approached he was with 2 other men, all well dressed. He turned to us and in his own language, gestured and spoke to his friends.
I forgot the deli and we made our way out the store but not before reporting the incident to the security.
My mind thinking it was most likely nothing but ….
At the till, the 3 man loudly joined the queue in front of us and I lingered at the till until they were gone.
My elder son following them saw that they went to a huge taxi type of vehicle outside. A few minutes passed and they were still there. Us by now, getting rather anxious inside the store.
Every part of my instincts was alert.
I realised there would be no way just the two of us could fight them off if they were indeed, as my mind was telling me, people kidnapping kids.
If I phoned my husband it would take too long for him to get the car out the garage, and then find parking to get to us.
But I had 2 more sons, 24 and 19, at home who could get to me in less than 10 minutes.
I called over the floor manager of the store and relayed our story, she called a store manager.
I then called my boys.
The store manager arranged a security guard to walk us home ! A good 15 minute walk. He also reported the car to the police, which was still sitting there with all 3 men in, and got a description of the men.
My sons had by now used their longboards to cut time and get to us faster.
With quick thinking we got home safe.
I was a wreck. Hamish was in tears as he had obviously understood what was going on and the boys were visibly shocked.
I’m not sure what the guys wanted but I also was not going to take the chance.
So, why write about this now?
I sat talking to a friend the other day and realised just how much this incident has affected me.
I no longer walk that way with Hamish, infact we usually have others with us and are always super aware of the people around us and our surroundings.
I’ve become super anxious if I’m out with him alone. I’ve always watched him like a hawk , now so even more.
But the biggest change has been my own online presence.
I don’t for one minute believe the two are related but I’m also not stupid enough not to change some of my habits to safe guard my child. So,although I’ve always been super concious of our online privacy , I am even more so now.
The last two months there’s been a little less of our lives out there.
No immediate stories of where we are or announcements of what we are doing. I now post things we did 2 or 3 days later, or after we have left the location.
I don’t think any South African parent truly relaxes when it comes to their children’s safety and our missing children statistics are horrific.
So, we are still here and we still love sharing our lives with you 💞, even if it is a few days later.