He Said/She Said: Dad’s Side of the Story
Let’s get right to the story. My wife locked our 13-month-old daughter in the car last week. If you’re asking yourself “How could that happen?” rest assured that I’m still wondering the same thing myself.
It was a Sunday afternoon, and we had decided to make a family trip to our local Whole Foods and DSW. Typically we’re not big drivers, but we figured that this time it made sense to take our car given the amount of packages we would otherwise be carrying. We approached the outing with a divide-and-conquer strategy – I would handle the groceries and my wife would shoe shop – which left me to manage our daughter, who begins whining as soon as I prohibit her from sampling every item of food on display.
I finished my shopping well before my wife, who took an extremely long time to pick out a pair of running shoes. I’m not sure why, but that’s a story I’ll save for another day. When she finally met up with us I was holding our daughter, who was letting me know that she was pretty much over the whole shopping experience. We then walked together to the car, where my wife began to put our daughter in the car seat while I unloaded the bags into the trunk of the car.
At this point, my wife remembered that we needed bottled water. So I volunteered to walk back inside and grab a couple of gallons. On my way back to the car, I noticed my wife standing outside the back door of the car with a panicked look on her face. She immediately said to me, “Get someone. Our daughter is locked in the car.”
My reaction, of course, was full of expletives and rhetorical questions. She then explained that she gave our baby the car keys to play with and then shut the door, right as our daughter hit the “lock” button. My reaction to this explanation contained yet more expletives and further rhetorical questions related to why she would give a one-year-old the keys to the car.
My wife then ran into Whole Foods and alerted security. The men were nice, but of course they couldn’t do anything but call a locksmith. They made some calls and, surprise surprise, no one wanted to ruin their Sunday afternoon with a trip to Whole Foods to extricate a baby from a car. So my wife decided to break the window. I tried to tell her this was not a good idea. Here’s a piece of advice, by the way, for the spouses: don’t tell your wife that her idea isn’t a good one when she’s in a panic because her kid is locked in a car.
After about 5 minutes (that felt more like 30), I decided to run home and get our other set of keys. I headed out to the street, where there was not a cab in sight. Fortunately, one pulled up after a while right at the moment I realized I had no cash on me and would have to charge a $5 cab ride. Oh well, the cabbie could get over it; my daughter’s life was on the line here.
I arrived at our place only to realize that our apartment key was on the key chain that our daughter was playing with locked inside the car, which meant that I had to ask the doorman to call a maintenance guy to let me in our apartment. That two-minute wait was excruciating, in part because I kept receiving desperate calls from my wife.
Finally, I got the extra set of keys and hailed a cab. I told the cab driver to step on it and boy did he ever. In the drive over, I knew this story had two potential endings. One was that I made it in time and was a hero. “Superdad” would not be a stretch. The other was that I would die in a fiery crash as the cab driver was speeding 90 mph down Clinton.
We hit a red light before reaching the shopping complex, and I decided to run from there rather than wait. I could only imagine the look on people’s faces as they saw this nearly middle-aged white guy running like Carl Lewis in his flip flops down the sidewalk. As I got closer to the parking lot, I started pressing the unlock button again and again. I arrived just in time to see my wife pull our daughter, crying and drenched in sweat, from her car seat. Of course my wife then got to look like the hero, holding our daughter and comforting her as I transformed back into your average Clark Kent. Just another job for Superdad, who ends up doing all the hard work while the other guy (or wife) gets the reward.
Wondering what Mom was thinking the whole time? Find out here!