TAKE HEART! Crazy Woman Calls Cops on “Bad” Mom, Cop Sides with Mom!

This story  is upsetting, but also reassuring. I put it here to remind us all that just because some authorities are too quick to investigate fine parents — and those are the stories I often highlight, because this must change — plenty of cops and child protective workers can recognize hysteria when they see it.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I have two kids, 10 and 6.  I grew up “Free-Range” in the ’70s and ’80s (known as “just a normal childhood” back then), and I want to raise my kids the same way.

The thing I worry about more than anything are the “good Samaritans” who see a child alone and suddenly assume that SOMETHING has to be done. Call somebody! NOW!

I was in a small thrift store a couple months ago with my 6-year-old and my husband.  When I say it was small, I mean you could see literally everything and everyone in the store no matter where you were.

We go to this thrift store quite frequently and, as always, I was on one end of the store looking at things, and my husband was about 20 feet away, looking at other things.  My son looked through the toys, then went back and forth between my husband and me every few minutes, asking if it was time to leave.  (He hadn’t found anything good, so as far as he was concerned, there was no reason to still be there!)

We were there for a total of less than 15 minutes.  My husband, son, and I stayed in the store together the entire time.  I noticed a few minutes after we got there that a woman and her little boy had come in.  She immediately strapped him into the little baby seat in a shopping cart (he was too big for it in my opinion, but I minded my own business).  My son was still going back and forth between my husband and me, talking nonstop to everybody he saw (which he always does, and I only make him stop if I’m afraid he’s bothering somebody).

He stopped to talk to this woman’s son about Legos.  The boy looked to be about my son’s age, and I overheard their conversation, smiling to myself because he’d found a little friend.

The kid’s mom started questioning my son.  “How old are you?”  “What’s your name?”  “When’s your birthday?”  “Where do you live?”  “What grade are you in?”  “Where do you go to school?”

I thought it was a little odd.  She fired these questions off rapidly like it was an investigation.  My husband overheard this, too, but we didn’t intervene.

My son came back over to me to ask again if it was time to go, and it was.  We all went up front to pay, as the store was closing anyway.

The woman then left the store with her son, put him in her car, and came back in to confront me in front of everybody right at the front entrance near the register.

She pointed at me and said, “You need to take better care of your child.  He was way too willing to tell me things about himself.  I know his name, where he lives, where he goes to school, and his birthday.  You really shouldn’t allow your son to be unsupervised in a store like this.  I could’ve walked right out of here with him and you would’ve never known it because you weren’t paying any attention to him or watching him at all.”

My husband, normally pretty quiet and reserved, spoke up and said “Like HELL you would’ve walked out of here with him.”

The woman demanded an explanation from me as to why I allowed my “baby” to be unsupervised in the store.  I told her I would not give her any explanation, and that I didn’t owe her anything.

The woman said she was a “ranger” (not sure what that means) and that if I were in her “jurisdiction” she would arrest me and have me put in jail right on the spot for my neglectful behavior.

I told her that if that was her take on things, she’d be arresting people in that store — and many others — every single day.

I guess I wasn’t apologetic enough for her taste. She then got her cell phone out, right then and there, and called 911 to report an abandoned child.

She walked out of the store, and my husband, son, and I followed her.

She took a picture of my license plate while she was on hold with 911 and told me, “You’re going to jail tonight, sweetheart.  You better hope somebody can come get your son ’cause you’re spending the night in jail.”

I pointed out that while she was inside launching her self-righteous tirade, she’d left her OWN son in the car alone, in the parking lot.  She laughed and said “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

I just…I…OH MY GOD.

My heart was pounding.  I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.

The police showed up about five minutes later.

The woman had told the 911 operator that my son had been left alone in the store for “over an hour” (total lie).  When the officer got there, she told the officer that my son had been there totally unattended for “several hours.”  She then later changed that to “almost all day.”

The officer took my husband’s statements, my statement, and this wacko’s statement.  My son was crying, scared, and holding on to me for dear life.

Then the woman told the officer to go check with the store employees. “Yeah, they’ll tell you.  This woman left her son all alone in that store almost the entire time they were open today.”

I figured this woman would hang around to see how things turned out, but she left after that, giving me a smirk first and saying “Heh.  Enjoy your night in jail, honey!”

God, I was terrified.  TERRIFIED. 

I had no idea what was going on.  We’d just stopped in to browse before going to dinner, like we’d done a hundred times before.

The officer came back out after talking to the cashier in the store and told us we were free to leave, and that we’d done nothing wrong.  He said “Hey, I have kids, too.  I know how it is.  Have a good day.”

I was so relieved that I started crying right there in the parking lot.  Know why?  Because of stories like the one Lenore posted.  I know how these things can turn out, and they can ruin your life, and your children’s lives.  All because of what?  We didn’t bubble-wrap our kids and never let them out of their sight until they’re grown?

I would never leave either of my children in a dangerous place, or neglect them.  At the same time, though, I want them to experience freedom and learn some independence when it’s appropriate and possible.  There’s always that fear, though, that one of these so-called do-gooders will show up and smash your entire world to pieces, all in the name of “safety.”

It’s hell sometimes, trying to raise a Free-Range kid in this country.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all Free-Range parents to make the effort to do it anyway.

My thoughts and prayers go out, too. But lately I’ve been thinking we really need some legal leverage, too. That’s why I’d really like folks to chime in with ways we can get the “Free-Range Kids and Parents’ Bill of Rights” into action, stating that kids have the right to some unsupervised time and we have the right to give it to them, without being arrested. Really, with that bill  in place, the idea that your kid was unsupervised — even if it were true — would not matter, because kids would have the right to not be Velcroed to their parents 24/7.

And in another post soon, I will go into why I think this new level of supervision that our society is demanding, is actually age-old superstition. – L

A crazy woman at the thrift shop is thwarted by common sense!

Are kids as easy to pick up at the thrift shop as a one-armed Barbie?

.

, , , , , , ,

99 Responses to TAKE HEART! Crazy Woman Calls Cops on “Bad” Mom, Cop Sides with Mom!

  1. Hancock June 8, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Is lying to the police not a crime? Wow. What that was neither do-gooder nor a busy body. That went well beyond the normal paranoia. The “ranger” was either completely deranged or there was more going on here than what’s in print.

  2. Gary June 8, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    I woulda spent the night in jail alright, but not for “abandoning” my children.

  3. Montreal Dad June 8, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    Yikes. This crazy lady seems to need some serious help herself. I read this and find myself fearing for her kid: she’s not ok.

  4. Suanne Laqueur June 8, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    And that whackjob just walks off free? She did the equivalent of pulling the fire alarm when there’s no fire! That’s a false alarm, which, correct me if I’m wrong, is a federal offense?

  5. Montreal Dad June 8, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    About the “Free-Range Kids and Parents’ Bill of Rights”, you already know how I feel:

    Noble idea. Necessary. Even urgent.

    BUT it’s not something you can freelance. You need someone with deep familiarity with a single state’s corpus of Family Law to draft a legislative proposal that will pass muster with the courts.

    More than a bill what’s needed is a lobbying strategy: a bill + a legislative director with deep contacts in one state legislature and a grassroots campaign to pack him/her up. Which is another way of saying, what’s really needed is a fundraising strategy.

    You don’t need to lead it all yourself, Lenore. You just need to leverage the amazing network you’ve built into action. You’re an amazing champion, but what you need now is some wheeler-dealers in Annapolis and/or Trenton and/or Albany to get one model statute passed.

  6. Will June 8, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    How, exactly, is crazy train “ranger” not arrested in this scenario?

  7. SteveS June 8, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Pulling a fire alarm when there is no fire is a crime in most states. Giving false information to police or filing a false police report is also a crime in most states. That being said, I don’t know how often people get charged for this.

  8. E June 8, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Thank goodness that common sense and reason won out. I hate that this family went thru that, but thankfully the right end result.

  9. E June 8, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    I don’t understand why people always want the callers arrested. Why do we want to create different legal and financial situations.

    It would have been nice if the police would have kept her around long enough to educate her on their findings, but I see no reason to inflict financial and legal situations on someone just for being rude and out of line. If they feel like her comments were not truthful, let them issue a warning.

    Common sense works for all parties in my opinion.

  10. Crystal June 8, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    What a jerk!

  11. Ken Hagler June 8, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    I wonder how many more “good samaritans” are actually bullies who are just looking for a way to hurt others and get away with it, but aren’t as honest about it as that creep was.

  12. Peter Orvetti June 8, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    These sorts of stories scare the hell of out me.

  13. Frederick Polgardy June 8, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Okay, it’s great and all that the cop sided with the “bad” mom, but why are there no consequences for this deranged “ranger”?

  14. JJ June 8, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    Was she a Power Ranger?

  15. trishwah June 8, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    This bothers me about a lot of the stories I hear about “good samaritans” calling the cops: A good number of them seem to have a gigantic chip on their shoulders and they are looking to take it out on somebody. It’s like they are trolling in person, using 911.

  16. Wendy W June 8, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    @E “I don’t understand why people always want the callers arrested. Why do we want to create different legal and financial situations.

    It would have been nice if the police would have kept her around long enough to educate her on their findings, but I see no reason to inflict financial and legal situations on someone just for being rude and out of line. If they feel like her comments were not truthful, let them issue a warning.

    Common sense works for all parties in my opinion.”

    These people often cause horrendous “financial and legal situations” for the poor families that get harassed by CPS as a result of the phone calls. I don’t think it’s at all out of line to wish that they would get a taste of their own medicine. It would be nice if the family thus tormented could turn around and sue their accuser for making false allegations, but since these calls are so often anonymous to the victim, there is no recourse for doing so. I would be very happy if the police would simply ticket them for wasting government resources, but that’s not likely to happen. The police depend too much on community involvement for them to go around proverbially shooting themselves in the foot by angering their community informants. They should at least educate them before letting them go on to freely continue their harassment of normal parents.

  17. Frederick Polgardy June 8, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    E: The caller wasn’t “rude and out of line” — she lied to the police to try to get these parents arrested. How is that not felony obstruction of justice?

  18. mystic_eye June 8, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    Too bad the cop didn’t do anything to her – for misuses of 911, for wasting police time, for emotionally abusing a child. I just hope her name is on file somewhere so no other law enforcement takes her seriously when there’s no witnesses.

  19. Maggie June 8, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    WOW. That’s appalling.

  20. Betsy in Michigan June 8, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    It might be wise to make an appointment at the local police station to speak with them about this woman who, I’d stake anything on, has made or will make other false 911 calls. Nothing they can do about it now but be aware of this mentally unstable person, and possibly be able to take other action at a later date when she repeats. If someone recorded my license plate, you’d bet I’d record theirs, too.

  21. Nicole June 8, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    I once had a woman lecture me on taking care of my kids better in the produce section of my local grocery store. We had left the then roughly 1 year old strapped in the cart. His 4 year old sister was running between me, my husband and the cart. Both children were in our direct line of sight the whole time. I got to listen to a busybody lecture me on how anyone could just walk away with my kids. I just glared at her and walked away (when we were done).

  22. Neil M June 8, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    I suspect this “ranger” isn’t playing with a full deck, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the officer very quickly realized that. He probably decided that giving that kind of person a lecture just wasn’t worth it. I’ll bet anyone loopy enough to act that way is loopy enough to ignore warnings not to do it again.

    I’m glad that the officer kept it cool and professional, and I’m sorry these parents had to endure this bit of nuttiness.

  23. Ann June 8, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    poor family. What a crazy lady.

  24. Mark Davis June 8, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    I agree with others here that common sense should prevail when appropriate, but this lady went way over the line. Quite possible I wouldn’t have thought of this either, but if this had happened to me and I had my wits about me while it was going on, I would have demanded the lady’s credentials (“ranger”? of what?) and would have taken every opportunity to find her and have her charged.

  25. bsolar June 8, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    You should have accused her of wilfully stating a false accusation against you (likely to harass you), which is illegal. Once suspected of having committed a crime she could have been detained and later, once verified what really happened, arrested.

    Basically, leave me alone or if you try to accuse me of something be ready to face a full-blown counterattack. Then we’ll see who will spend a night in jail.

  26. Andrea June 8, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    These are the stories we need to get out there, too–to equate the people who call the police on others as the crazies as they are. As long as they continued to be portrayed as “concerned citizens,” rather vindictive people out to cause trouble, the rest of us will continue to live in fear.

    Also important, training cops be be skeptical of “child engagement calls” where the kid is clearly fine.

    That woman was a bully, plain and simple. Our law enforcement agencies should not be allowed to used to indulge this type of person’s sick fantasies.

  27. Maggie in VA June 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    Mmmm, I think the key is that Ranger Whack-a-doodle genuinely believes her version of events. What I would hope for the writer is that RW would be banned from the thrift store for her little stunt.

  28. MichaelF June 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    @E “I don’t understand why people always want the callers arrested. Why do we want to create different legal and financial situations.

    It would have been nice if the police would have kept her around long enough to educate her on their findings, but I see no reason to inflict financial and legal situations on someone just for being rude and out of line. If they feel like her comments were not truthful, let them issue a warning.

    Common sense works for all parties in my opinion.”

    Because as in most of these cases unless there are repercussions for filing a false report these people will continue to do that sort of thing. When its a freebie to call and file a false report then no one things twice. With the pressure on police resources calling in a false alarm should have a penalty, there us usually a fine involved with that anyway.

    Common Sense only works with people who have it or will listen, this “ranger” apparently was not. Otherwise the immediate questioning of the son for his personal information senses of someone in the midst of paranoia, and a willingness to berate others for their perceived failures. Granted without being there and seeing everything that happened its hard to judge the entire situation, but the false report filing and taking off is pretty brazen in my opinion.

    If the woman gave a statement to the police they should have her information on the report, allowing the parents to potentially sue for harassment or false statements to the police. If they really want to waste the time.

  29. RJ June 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Typical psycho using laws oppressively against others.
    Trust me, everything she accused this woman of is exactly what she is actually doing to her own kid and by stopping others she insanely believes she is stopping herself.

  30. Joan June 8, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Here’s where these interfering “good samaritan” types lose me: if you’re worried that a child isn’t being adequately supevised, and that therefore something bad *could* happen, why would you try to get the parents in trouble? That practically guarantees that something bad (emotional trauma, foster care, etc) *WILL* happen to the child in question. That should be the standard for interfering – if you honestly think a child is in such a dangerous situation that foster care is preferable, call the police. Otherwise, butt out.

  31. lollipoplover June 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    “The woman then left the store with her son, put him in her car, and came back in to confront me in front of everybody right at the front entrance near the register.”

    She left her OWN kid alone in the easy bake death chamber??? Just to become a martyr mom and feel superior by putting you down?

    I would have taken pictures of HER car and kid for the police and stood my ground with this nonsense.

  32. Eric S June 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    There has to be some sort of consequence for people like that busy body know it all woman, who apparently is big hypocrite and doesn’t even realize it.

    Calling in for something that ridiculous is a waste of police resources, and tax payers money.

    People who make blatant false accusations (dispatch, store employees, and her own account all contradict) should be fined, and put on record. So that if dispatch keeps getting calls from the same person, about false accusations, something can actually be done about this person. And will also set a precedence for anyone else who decides to be a sanctimonious moron.

    How quickly these people over react, and exert their views upon others, that in doing so wrecks people’s lives. They need to answer for that ignorance.

  33. Eric S June 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    @Joan: That’s the thing about sanctimonious and arrogant people, they are too quick to satiate their own desire to be always right, can’t do no wrong, and “know everything”, that they don’t stop to think what they are actually doing. And how it will affect EVERYONE, including the child, in the long run.

    Like with many helicopter parents, this busy body was a selfish bitch. Only thinking about THEMSELVES. Hell, she did exactly what she accused the couple of doing. Yet she says “there is nothing wrong with that”. LOL!! The arrogance and ignorance.

  34. Eric S June 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    I personally would have taken a pic or a video of the whole incident. Recorded what she was saying, her plates, her leaving her boy in the car. I would have also talked to the cop about procedures for future incidences like this (because a good chance it will happen again). Say to him, my son feels traumatized now because of her. I’m all frazzled because of hearing stories about parents going to jail for similar incidences. And that it becomes a very mentally and distressing situation for nothing. Make sure that this arrogant woman faces consequence of her actions. I would even go as far as posting it online, to show others how some parents over react, and are extreme hypocrites. Get the word out there. Perhaps, it will open people’s eyes to see the things that they don’t even realize they are doing. Including wrecking good families.

  35. Warren June 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    E,

    This busybody used the law as a sword to inflict pain and suffering on the family. Not the way the law is supposed to work.

    Having her arrested for her actions would be classed as the family using the law as a shield to protect themselves. That is how the law is supposed to work.

    You have to realize that these self righteous wannabe heroes are not ones to do this once and once only. They will continue to do it, again and again, and the law of averages says she will eventually destroy a family. So yes, she needs to be stopped. Either by the system, or one day she will run into the wrong parent and will face justice personally.

  36. Erika June 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Sadly, I think more of the truth is that the woman was exhibiting some mental illness, or teetering on that spectrum. Additionally it is illegal to make false claims to the police or to CPS. Based on the false allegations-clearly witnessed by store attendants, it’s unfortunate she did not get called on the carpet for that by law enforcement. CPS and police are regularly fielding false claims of child abuse and neglect and it would not be unusual, nor should we hesitate pointing it out, when it is occurring. My sympathy goes out to what her young child is enduring, as I’m sure her ranting continued long after she left the scene, along with her delusional thinking.

  37. Marianne Lappin June 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    It is more than a “right” to be unsupervised; it is a responsibility. Wonder why kids aren’t as independent and free-thinking as they used to be? Wonder why they don’t have the work ethic with which we grew? We gradually gave our girls independence and corresponding duties and responsibilities so they could handle themselves appropriately, wisely, and safely when the time came. We cannot keep our kids in a bubble and expect them to mature and grown to be capable adults.

  38. Christine June 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    I am terrified almost daily that someone will call CPS on me. We have a small backyard and my daughter is very dramatic and screams bloody murder when she throws a tantrum. I also let my kids climb on the high equipment at parks without hovering over them. It annoys me the parents that follow their kids onto the play structure. I let my 7 year old answer the door when the bell rings and I allow him out front when he is playing with friends. And yes he is allowed to walk a few doors down to a friends house on his own. So as you can see in this society I may be considered a reckless parent. But I know I am not. In the 80’s my mom used to work the night shift while 7 kids and our army of friends had free rain over the house and cul de sac. It was a fabulous childhood. But in today’s world
    My parents would have their kids removed. Sad world. Let’s see some parents rights laws.

  39. Reziac June 8, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    The one I feel sorry for is this busybody’s kid. Consider how mentally crippled she’s making her own son. And her strapped-in kid had to be what, five or six? Seriously??

  40. lollipoplover June 8, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    “There’s always that fear, though, that one of these so-called do-gooders will show up and smash your entire world to pieces, all in the name of “safety.”

    Parents shouldn’t have to face this mindless, needless paranoia (and it IS a mental illness) for no reason.
    I both love and hate modern technology. My love of pulling out a smart phone to get directions or take pictures is erased by the idiots who use their phones as a weapon of false accusations. Wanting to record “proof” that they are right and everyone else is wrong is self-righteous, sanctimommy disorder. I make better food choices on a daily basis than most parents (I cook a lot and garden) but don’t flip out my camera and take pictures of parents in the drive-thru at Mickey D’s to feel better about myself. Or call the police.
    A chatty 6 year-old in a small store talking about legos is delightful! Turning this into false accusations and parenting insults that hurt children IS MENTAL ILLNESS.

    I would have had a very serious talk with the police officer about finding mental health counseling, for the sake of the child of this mother, and what resources are provided by community to ensure NO other family has to go through this woman’s delusions.

  41. Jill June 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    @Lollipoplover You had me at “easy bake death chamber.”
    Back in my day, these “rangers” liked to call themselves truant officers. They weren’t, of course, but they thought it gave them added authority when they were yelling at kids to get off their lawn.
    There’s another version of nut who sometimes accosts my husband and his bicycle-riding buddies and threatens to call the cops on them for riding their bikes in the street. Apparently they think bikes belong on the sidewalks and “Share the Road” is just some crazy nonsense cooked up by the liberal media.

  42. Dee June 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    I think it sounds like this woman is delusional. Really. I wish she had stuck around to interact w/ the cop and that he had given her a dressing down. That would’ve been fun!

  43. Beth June 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    No one has park rangers (usually hired by the DNR) in their communities? That’s what I thought a ranger was. Ours are not sworn police officers per se but they do wear uniforms and have some capabilities that many would associate with police. However, arresting is not one of them, at least in my state.

  44. Nadine June 8, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    The Loone Ranger strikes again!

  45. Agent0013 June 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    I would have taken the stance that she was a danger to me and my child and threatening me. Taking her phone and breaking it would have been the least of it. Smashing her face into the pavement and leaving her bloody would have been a few other steps involved. You want to threaten others, you then take the risk they might defend themselves!

  46. Papa Fred June 8, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    A. Perhaps she thought her title and authority as a “Ranger,” was simply her mis-hearing a previous reference to herself as being “Deranged!”

    B. As I read this report I found my heart rate jump and my fists tighten. Not sure I would have been as rational and self-controlled as these parents were. The urge to retaliate is strong.

    C. We must be aware to not allow our own concerns re “the crazy busy-bodies out there” to skew our own reality and view ourselves as victims by ironically creating our own narrative of fear and paranoia. Lenore’s basic premise is that most people are good and we are more safe than ever. (As the joke goes…, “that’s not to say they aren’t out to get ya.”)

  47. Lindsay June 8, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    I’m totally with you that these scenarios are disturbing and becoming more frequent but I disagree on the “bill of rights” idea. I also disagree with the term “free range parenting” because we’re making it “a thing”. A thing that is widely misconstrued, misunderstood and therefore being targeted. I honestly believe that if the family who has made news lately (in NY I believe) for letting their kids walk home from the park hadn’t described themselves as free range parents, they wouldn’t have been targeted as harshly. It’s like if you identify as an “anti-vaxxer” you might as well paint a bullseye on your backside since the Disneyland measles outbreak, but if you quietly go about your way, doing your thing, no one makes a stink. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time to fight. I am not saying we should shrink away from opposition, just not wave the red cape in front of the bulls nose. It’s like any other ridiculous trend, it will die if we let it. We keep stirring the pot though and it’s going to boil over! Us good parents, will raise good kids that will survive and prove there’s no reason for alarm. If someone questions your parenting as an individual you can deal with that. It’s not hard to prove you’re doing what’s right when you really are. But identifying with (what only idiots) consider a controversial movement only gives those same idiots reason to question you more closely.

  48. Rina Lederman June 8, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    I would just start screaming at the lady for “abandoning” her kid in the car. That is illegal. having your kid under your watch in a small thrift shop is not.

  49. Michelle June 8, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    I’m getting sick of these interfering do-no-gooders! I sometimes wonder if I do something to attract them? Just this weekend some guy tried to lecture me for leaving my 10 and 11 year olds in the car while I paid for gas! I laughed at him because it was so ridiculous, and he dropped it. When I got back to the car, I asked my kids if they were hot, and my 10 year old dramatically (and jokingly) declared that she was dead from heat because I’d left her in the car all alone. Then she wanted to know if she should get out and walk home, since being in a car is SO DANGEROUS!

    I’ve already decided that next time someone won’t leave me alone about it, they’re going on YouTube. The guy from this weekend is lucky he didn’t push it.

    @Jill, it’s illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk here. That doesn’t stop people from insisting cyclists should stay out of the street. There was even a cop in my neighborhood who tried to tell my kids not to ride in the street. Really aggravating after I’ve worked hard to teach them to follow the law!

  50. Warren June 8, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    Lindsay,

    Wow, your attitude is what got us to where we are now. People not organizing. Not putting a name to it. Not fighting. Just quietly going about our own business.

    All of that has allowed the gov’t, the schools, the police, cps, mandated reporters and everyone else to enact rules upon rules, laws upon laws, that all infringe on our right to raise our own kids. Just quietly doing our own thing has given the authorities the right to criminalize parenting.

    If you do not stand up and fight, if you just quietly go about your own business, that is taken as silent approval of what is being done.

    The people over the years that have developed this overprotective, over regulated society have done so by rocking the boat, and fighting, while everyone else just pushed it aside in hopes it would fade away. This will not fade away. It will only get worse. Even if I give you the benefit of the doubt that it will eventually fade away, how many generations will it take, and why should the kids and parents of those generations just quietly accept it. Saying it will fade away over time does not do the kids and parents of this generation any good.

    Like the old saying goes, ” If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”.

  51. Ali June 8, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    I would worry a bit that she questioned your son and claims – ” I know his name, where he lives, where he goes to school, and his birthday.”
    I would have also taken a picture of her car so if you see it around the neighborhood you can be aware.

  52. Kay Eff June 8, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    I think I might have turned the tables on that wacko and started berating her with questions about why she was asking all of those personal questions of my child. “What are you planning on doing, kidnapping my child? Are you a pervert?” and then get mock hysterical and call 911 on her first before she had the chance to grand stand. The concept of acting reasonable with someone who is obviously deranged is nuts in and of itself. You have to use offense as the best defense to derail these kooks sometimes. Don’t let them get a foothold.

  53. Kay Eff June 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

    When someone is going down the crazy path, sometimes it’s best to run ahead of them: Start with “Why were you asking all those personal questions of my child? Are you some kind of pervert?” and then escalate to mock hysterical and start shouting. Perhaps call 911 and report a suspicious person asking inappropriate questions from your child. Sometimes it pays to use offense as the best defense here. Don’t let the bullies get a foothold. I’ll bet she’d think twice about doing that again. The concept of being reasonable has no place when you are dealing with kooks who want to get all up in your business.

  54. Melody Adams June 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    I’m so sorry that you had to experience that nonsense and i’m so happy that the officer recognized the truth and THE LAW. Thanks for sharing your story. Hang in there and keep on teaching your children the right way!

  55. Helen June 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    With regard to the idea of there being a punishment for the (clearly!) crazy woman…

    Yes, my gut reaction is that I would like to see that too, but my reservation is that if people in general become afraid to call 911 because they may end up being punished for it, legitimate calls may not be made. Sometimes there really ARE situations where you’re not sure if you should be calling 911 or not and yet it’s still better to call than not. For example, I’ve called in when I’ve heard a woman screaming for help in the middle of the night and I wasn’t sure where it was coming from (we live in an apartment with other apartments nearby). Turned out she was locked out and trying to get the attention of her roommate. Doesn’t mean I was wrong to call 911, even though I wasted police time in the end. Clearly my scenario is much different from that in the post, but not everyone recognizes nuance and circumstance (otherwise a child in an air-conditioned car for five minutes would not be treated the same as an abandoned infant in a hot car!) and people could be afraid to call in at all. We already complain about our society’s disinclination to “get involved” in the first place. Seems like there should be a happy medium over when it’s okay to get involved and when it’s not! But we don’t all see the world through the same eyes in order to determine where that happy medium is.

  56. Donald June 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    I hope the police contacted the crazy lady and gave her a speech about overstepping being ‘a concerned citizen’ and using the police to be a bully in order to make herself feel self righteous.

    “Enjoy your night in jail honey” didn’t eventuate but the crazy lady can ‘enjoy the rest of her lonely life’.

    We are all magnets. You reap what you sow. She is crazy because I bet she has had terrible social skills for years. Now her craziness will make her social skills even worse!

    Enjoy the rest of your lonely life.

  57. hineata June 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    I might be crazy myself, but I have difficulty believing this particular story. This is way too weird. How can a 6 year old walking between 2 parents in a small store be labeled as unsupervised? Why would police officers turn up at a shop for no reason at all? Which this is!

    How many cops do y’all have, anyway? Way too many, by the sounds of it.

    Maybe I need a change in meds, or maybe just up on the wrong side of the bed, but I just don’t buy this.

  58. lena June 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    please tell me the (insert any swear word) woman was arrested for making a false statement to the police.

  59. sigh June 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    “… if you honestly think a child is in such a dangerous situation that foster care is preferable, call the police. Otherwise, butt out.”

    Oh, Joan, YES.

    When people let their thoughts and emotions run away with them, they will do things in the name of something beautiful, like “well-being,” that take everyone miles and miles away from well-being.

    When you feel urgency to react, check yourself. What is it you value so much that you are so triggered emotionally? Maybe it’s consideration, or safety, or a sense that you matter. And then look at what you are about to say or do. Is it going to get you more of what you want, or less?

    A child with cigarette burns on their arms, with a hollow look in their eyes and significant weight loss… these are kids to ask questions about. Happy, confident, well-fed, engaging youngsters? Move along and be glad they’re so happy.

  60. Steve June 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

    Christine said:

    “I am terrified almost daily that someone will call CPS on me. We have a small backyard and my daughter is very dramatic and screams bloody murder when she throws a tantrum.”

    Don’t let your daughter have that power. “Dramatic” does not mean she can’t control herself. She can. When she tantrums, scoop her up and put her in her crib or a timeout room. Her tantrums will disappear quickly “IF____if she realizes that EVERY time she “STARTS” a tantrum, she has no option but timeout.

  61. Heather Head June 8, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    I no longer stand around for this kind of abuse. My children have been stopped three times by police, thanks in part to “good samaritans.” One of them was so traumatized he stopped riding his bicycle for months because he was afraid we’d get arrested. The other one still won’t walk to the library (six blocks from our house) because of the anxiety the police have instilled in him.

    Make no mistake that the way the “good samaritan” behaved is abuse. She traumatized the family and, most especially, the child, who had to listen to a stranger berate his parents, accuse them, and threaten them. One time when I was pulled over for a vehicle registration violation (my fault), my kids shared afterward that they thought I was going to jail, and they were frantic about it. I can only imagine that this child was certain that was going to happen to his parents.

    Since those three stops by the police and everything that’s happened with the Meitiv’s, I’ve armed myself with statistics and righteous fury. We Americans are killing our children with anxiety (suicide #3 killer among adolescents–suicide is caused by depression, depression caused by anxiety) by telling them they’re in constant danger and keeping them indoors. We’re killing them by obesity (heart disease in the top ten killers–I forget the exact number right now) by not letting them get exercise. We’re killing them in automobiles (#1 killer) because we’re afraid to let them walk (#not-even-on-the-charts non-killer).

    The big bad guys we’re so afraid of are actually our friends and family. Child homicides are perpetrated almost exclusively by parents and grandparents. Sexual molestation happens almost exclusively at the hands of trusted friends and family. Abductions happen most of the time straight from Grandma’s house by a non-custodial parent. Abductions happen on the street by strangers so rarely a kid would have to stand on the corner 70,000 (Lenore will probably correct my number–I never seem to add enough zeroes) years to have a statistically significant chance of being abducted by a stranger.

    Now, when someone accuses me of neglect, or questions the safety of our free range children, I stand my ground and tell them precisely what their fear-based approach is doing to our children. I give them the statistics and tell them that they are free to parent how they like, but absolutely no right to tell me how to parent my children.

    I wasn’t always so bold. I remember letting my toddler run around the (mostly empty) farmer’s market warehouse while I shopped for produce many years ago, and one of the sellers accused me of not paying attention to him, and told me I needed to “mind my child.” I stuttered and stumbled and apologized.

    Not anymore. If some POS like the good samaritan in this story ever EVER approaches me the way that woman did, I’d have her license number, name, birth date, and address, and she’d get a piece of my mind immediately and a letter from my attorney shortly thereafter.

    It’s time for us all to stand up. It’s not a matter of us just having a “different” way of parenting. Our way of parenting is verifiably healthier for children, and if anything is going to save us from the plague of anxiety, depression, and co-dependence that our children are dying from, it’s this. Time to stand up and say so.

    P.S. Following our three incidents, we had a talk with city management. They agreed with us. We’re now actively in partnership with the town to institute a free range bill of rights and encourage the community to become *more* free range. Some stories do have happy endings.

  62. Donald June 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

    “And that whackjob just walks off free?”

    Not at all. It doesn’t matter whether the police talk to her or not. This will still come back to bit her in the ass. I’m sure that she’s crazy BECAUSE her actions have been biting her in the ass for decades!

    You reap what you sow. This works EVERY TIME! It’s sort of like gravity.

  63. Michael La Porte June 8, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    ITS TIME TO TURN THE TABLES. In scenarios like this, if a busybody claims that they are a “stranger” who could have “kidnapped your child” and then does something moronic like call 911 – PRESS CHARGES for their “attempted kidnapping.”

    Lets see who ends up in jail!

  64. Donna June 8, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    That caller seemed completely unhinged. Arresting unhinged people rarely achieves anything. They think that are right and are just being persecuted.

  65. Jason June 8, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    You can’t really sue someone for making false statements to the police, as that is a protected communication. Think about how that could be abused by real criminals.

    As to whether lying to the police is a crime, that’s up to the cop(s) being lied to, unless you’re friends with the DA, for example.

  66. Steve June 8, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    Heather Head said:

    ” Following our three incidents, we had a talk with city management. They agreed with us. We’re now actively in partnership with the town to institute a free range bill of rights and encourage the community to become *more* free range. Some stories do have happy endings.”

    That’s Great !!!

    Maybe you could post again later, after you have things going. Then you can explain exactly what your city is doing so Lenore and others can refer to it, or call them for information. Hopefully this new partnership will be posted on your city website. (Hint, Hint)

  67. Christina June 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    My first reaction would have been to take a photo of that woman’s license plate, give it to the cops, and tell them I want to press charges.

  68. Michael Blackwood June 8, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    How about civil suits against people who scare your kids like in this story, call the cops, bring your child home when they are fine where they are, etc… for custodial interference, terroristic threats, or kidnapping for a start. During there are some good lawyers who can investigate and help parents scare these holier-than-thou know-it-alls enough to make them keep to their own garden. They should not be protected under Good Samaritan statutes because they simply aren’t. Scaring parents and children is never a “good” act.

  69. SOA June 8, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    I would have just freaking left. What is she going to do about it?!

  70. Ron Skurat June 8, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    In my home state of CT, this creature’s behavior could arguably be classified as Threatening, Assault, or Harassment. Oh, and criminal abuse of 911.

    For political reasons the local DA wouldn’t bring charges – their decisions regarding prosecution are, first and foremost, political, with probability of conviction coming in second.

    Luckily you dealt with a sane policeman; tell the thrift store that due to the hostile environment of their store you won’t be back, and that you’ll actively discourage your friends & family from shopping there as well.

    I don’t have any constructive advice for what to do when you run into her again, which very likely will happen!

  71. bsolar June 8, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    @Jason, you can definitely sue, but the statement being false is not enough to win: the informations have to be provided wilfully knowing they are false. In this case I don’t think it would be such difficult to prove, especially given the woman’s attitude clearly suggesting her intent to harm and the blatant exaggerations she made about something she witnessed directly.

    http://thelawdictionary.org/article/what-happens-when-you-file-a-false-police-report/

    “On other occasions, a false police report may be made in order to make an innocent party appear guilty. Regardless of the reasons, filing a false police report is a serious crime that carries real consequences.”

    “It isn’t enough for a person to supply the police with misinformation as the result of a simple mistake or error. A false police report always involves the element of knowingly supplying incorrect information. In other words, the person making the false report must be aware of the inaccuracy of their statements at the time they are made.”

    “Depending upon the jurisdiction, a false police report may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges may result in jail terms of one year or less. Typically, the defendant must also pay fines. If a person is charged with a felony, they may be looking at more than a year in jail and substantial fines. The person who made the false report may also be liable in a civil suit, such as if their report caused damage to another’s reputation.”

  72. Donald June 8, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    Unfortunately I think we will see more of this. As insecurity goes up, so does the need to find something to distract you from your problems. This lady has a problem. She’s lonely. This in turn has made he bat shit crazy. However she doesn’t go to the bar to drink her troubles away. She calls 911 and uses the police force to help her to bully other people!

    It’s hard to stop this. However there is one thing that insecure people like this absolutely hate. They hate it when people can see through them. When more and more people understand how this highlights their insecurity, we’ll see a reduction in this.

    I’m writing a blog. I’m interested in where crazy comes from. My whole website will focus on that. People need to understand others but more importantly they need to recognise things about themselves before these things become problems. I haven’t written many pages or have gone into depth vet but this is a start.

    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/puppet

  73. Ingrid June 8, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    Can we Free Range parents call ourselves Rangers, too? I think I will.

  74. dagwud June 8, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be fair to turn the tables, take a picture of her license plate, and then call 911 to report a child left alone in a care for “several hours”?

    I mean, goose and gander, right?

  75. dagwud June 8, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    I mean, “left alone in a car.” Silly keyboard.

  76. FreedomForKids June 8, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    I don’t think this is a case of a cop siding with the mother (parents) so much as a cop finding out the caller lied. He went inside and spoke with the store employees and discovered the allegations were false, is all. The child was not left in the store unsupervised for hours. This wasn’t a cop “siding” with mom, IMO. Not in the context usually discussed here.

  77. Emily Morris June 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

    If a cop is checking out the situation properly, it benefits the innocent and that’s good enough for me.

    And my instinct would have been to just leave. The woman had no authority to keep me there and if the cop’s showed up at my door the same investigation could have been made then.

  78. Nan June 8, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

    The parents should obtain a copy of the 911 call (the audio files In some jurisdictions are erased as fast as 90 days.) It’s a public record.
    Also get whatever police or incident report the cop wrote up (if any) and his business card. Note the date of the incident, and save the thrift store manager’s biz card also.
    I’d ask the DMV to block my home address in the computer system, so this busybody can’t somehow bamboozle her way to that info.
    None of these things should cost much, if anything, and won’t take much time.
    Better safe than sorry. Paper trail could come in handy, if (heaven forbid) this escalates.

  79. Marcello1099 June 9, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Another busy body lunatic who should mind her own damn business.

  80. Scott June 9, 2015 at 12:51 am #

    I’m with some of the folks here. Why did these poor people not insist the “ranger” get arrested. At least, she was disturbing the peace. And, depending how she approached the mom and dad, and in what tone of voice and volume, in some jurisdictions, it would be an assault charge (contrary to what many think, in some jurisdictions, if I raise my hand as to strike you, that’s assault. If I actually hit you, that’s battery, but it depends on where you are). If by a “ranger”, she means she’s a sworn peace officer in that state, I questions whether she did NOT have the authority to arrest them herself (at least as a “citizens” arrest). But, if she is a sworn peace officer, and she did anything to detain them, then there’s all sorts of constitutional violations (4th, 5th, and 6th amendments) that kick in. Depending on the state, it becomes “assault under cover of authority” or the equivalent. Finally, if she ISN’T a sworn peace officer, implying that she is, is the same as impersonating an officer, another charge. Oh, and what everyone else said, misuse of 911, filing a false report, lying to a peace officer.

    I don’t know, maybe that’s that we need, a lawyer from each state to explain what constitutes going over the line and what can you do back to the “do gooders”. If nothing else, it gives mom and dad some leverage to get people to back down i.e., you stop trying to have me arrested, and I won’t have you arrested. Most police officers will like that resolution.

  81. sexhysteria June 9, 2015 at 1:51 am #

    Sounds like a clear case of false complaint. I wouldn’t let the psycho walk out of the store before I had a chance to file a complaint against her for harassment.

  82. Isabel Towers June 9, 2015 at 4:30 am #

    The “ranger” was way out of line. The child was clearly not abandoned. I do, however, think it would be wise to teach our children to be wary of giving too much personal information to strangers. My 8-year-old goes to the village on his own and a woman once asked where he lives. He was very vague in his response without being rude.

  83. E June 9, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    I still don’t see how it helps the “ranger’s” family and children to have her arrested. I DO believe that the police could have asked her to stay and tell her that the cashier knew the parents and observed NO neglect. They could have explained that being in a store with your parents is not in any way a dangerous situation and to not use 911 and resources for such a thing.

    Is calling 911 “filing a police report”? Because I can’t imagine every 911 call and every conversation with a police officer is considered a “police report”. It’s just a 911 call and a conversation.

    Criminalizing this type of thing is silly. All the woman had to say was that some other patron claimed they’d seen him alone in the store. There is simply no way to make that a legitimate use of our police/jails/courts. If we’re concerned about kids, we have to be concerned about the impact to *her* kids too.

  84. Simon June 9, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    This didn’t end well at all… The next time the family goes into any store, Mr 6 year old will act differently. What he believed to be normal safe behaviour (and absolutely is) has resulted in a terrifying encounter – he wont act the same, and I find that so sad.

  85. E June 9, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    @Simon, when some of us had said the situation ended well or with common sense, it’s obviously referring to the police using common sense to resolve the situation quickly and correctly. We read too many stories of there being followup charges or investigations.

    The kid was probably very scared and confused. He was thrown a curveball that he has to try to make sense of. Fortunately, he’s got smart parents that will be able to help him thru this and move on.

    It’s unfortunate that this was foisted onto him, for sure.

  86. Laura June 9, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    Seems like she suspected the police wouldn’t arrest you – otherwise, why bail out before they arrived? If it happens again, I suggest taking a pic of HER license plate and her child left unattended…..

  87. CrazyCatLady June 9, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    If the police were doing their job, wouldn’t they have taken the name and address of the woman when they got her statement? We don’t know….this officer may have at least called her up after the fact and given her a good talking to and warning about not doing stuff like this again.

  88. KittyKat June 9, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    This.is.the.stupidest.thing.ive.ever.heard. WHATISWRONGWITHYOULADY!!!!!

  89. gigi June 9, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    When I read stories like these, I have to agree with my hubby, who does not suffer fools gladly or quietly. The woman would have left there within five minutes, terrified for her own life. And while I’m not normally aggressive, I would have cheered him on. I would also have made sure to get her license plate, and told her to expect to hear from my attorney. This woman is a bully. You can’t back down from a bully.

    I’m running into ‘Citizen Police’ now in regard to my dog. We are finding it increasingly difficult to travel with our family dog. If we stop anywhere, for five minutes even, someone is there threatening to call the police because your dog is in the car. I’ve seen threats on FBook that they’ll ‘Break your car window if you’ve left your dog in the car.’

    If there is no shade, I leave the car running with the AC on. If it’s not hot, the windows and sunroof are open partway. Get a grip.

  90. Warren June 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    gigi,
    I have run into a few of the idiots that try to lecture on dogs in cars. We have three dogs, all of them live for car rides.

    The ones that are all talk I just tell to F off. The ones that threaten to break the window, I just warn them, that if the dogs don’t get, I will.

  91. ck June 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    Well at least busy-bodies give kids some much needed practice in the “strangers who ask you weirdly personal questions should be answered vaguely and then politely avoided” department. Too bad that their practice consists busily trying to prove the strangers are all scary by traumatizing the child with tales of the boogeyman who’s out to kidnap them as soon as the child is more than 10 feet from their parent’s reach. Nobody with a license of intelligence or integrity actually believes that it actually “helps” a child to scare them.

  92. J- June 11, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    “If you tried to walk out of here with my child, I would have shot you in the fuc#ing spine.”

  93. Smokey Behr June 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    If this woman called 911, you can FOIA the 911 tapes and ANI/ALI information and file a lawsuit for harassment or a 1982 civil rights violation.

  94. Patrick Tchou June 12, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    Sounds like this woman was using her “official” position to badger a law abiding citizen. If she is not a “ranger”, then she was impersonating an officer. I think a complaint to her empolying agency or to the local district attorney (depending on whether she was actually a “ranger”) should be in the works.

  95. Livvy June 14, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    WHY didn’t this lady tell the cop that the raging woman had left her child in the car while she was in the store…??

  96. Stephen June 15, 2015 at 9:05 am #

    Being in a store is one thing. Letting kids roam around unattended in public is another. This is no longer a place where you can just let your ten year old get on a bike and ride to the park to hang out, without supervision. That IS negligent. I have parents in my neighborhood that put there kids outside at 8am and dont see them again until dinner. At 16 maybe, at 10 NO WAY, THey are the first one who will complain when their child gets abducted.

  97. Warren June 15, 2015 at 10:10 am #

    Stephen,

    Just where are you getting your information? Or are you just naturally paranoid?

  98. Shaarinya June 16, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    The person who placed the 911 call should have been charged for false reporting.