I can’t share the photos of your obnoxious number plate because I’m hoping that there is going to be some follow up legal action regarding this. But I can absolutely share your story.
I can’t share photos of the two year old and 6 month old fast asleep in your car.
But I can write about how it felt when we pulled into the Spotlight carpark. My beloved pulled into a carpark, pulled on the handbrake, turned the engine off and stopped. Paused. I looked to see what she was doing and her face said it all: there was something bad in the car next to us. I looked to see what she was seeing.
Two sleeping babies. A boy, maybe 6 months. A toddler, a little girl – around 2. Fast asleep. In the back seat of your car.
You were nowhere to be seen.
The windows were cracked open – maybe a centimetre at the front, and 2 centimetres at the back. I’m guessing you didn’t want to risk your sound system or anything in the front.
And to be fair, it wasn’t a beltingly hot day. Not like yesterday.
But Gizmo, that’s the thing about car park towers. They tend to hold in heat. And yesterday was hot. Really hot. 37 degrees. Those parking stations are made of concrete. So actually, Gizmo, it was warm in the carpark.
My beloved stayed watching over your two babies while I went into Spotlight and got them to page you by your number plate. In fact, they paged you twice. Then I returned to the car to be with my beloved.
Your son woke up. Had a wriggle, then went back to sleep.
And still, you shopped.
We stayed there, parked next to them. Watching over them. Waiting for you. While we sat, my beloved called the police, who sent the NRMA and a patrol car. They asked if an ambulance was needed and my beloved discussed the kids and how they looked with the words that parents use.
We’re a couple of women who came to Spotlight to get some fabric and some yarn, and some stuffing for a project. Neither of us have criminal records. We’re both good people. Honest. Protective of the vulnerable. Passionate.
You got lucky, Gizmo.
Because there are other people in Newcastle.
People who have guns. People who have less than humane intentions towards others. People who would see your children as a jackpot. People who would see your two little ones sleeping peacefully locked in your car, and rub their hands together with glee. People who are sick. Twisted. Criminal. Dangerous. Deadly.
And you were parked in the dark corner of a parking tower.
We could have smashed the windows of your car, Gizmo, and pulled the kids to safety. But if we had done that, they would have woken up. Fear would have etched across their little cherubic faces, and in that still sleepy haze, they would have panicked. Because regardless of how innocent we are, waking up to strangers smashing in a car window would be terrifying. But if you were parked in the sun. If it was a hotter day, and the heat was even more amplified than it already was. If your children were awake, or scared, or crying, or listless. Then we would not have hesitated.
Because, Gizmo, here’s the thing: Kids rely on adults to make smart choices for them. When you have kids trusted to your care, you have a responsibility to make choices that protect those kids. Leaving them locked in a car with the windows cracked open a touch does not equal a choice to protect those kids.
You eventually returned to your car and sleeping babies, with your hands empty. So what was important enough to leave your kids behind while you shopped? Maybe they were out of stock. I’d like to say you rushed back to the car. That you checked on the kids before you drove away. But you didn’t. You gave the two dykes glaring at you a smug smile, hopped into the car and drove away.
The police still came. We spoke to them. They are following it up. We’ve already had a call asking if we’re willing to give statements. We are, as it happens. And fingers crossed, if you have a wife, she might have a word or two to have with you about this.
You got a second chance with your kids, Gizmo.
Don’t fuck it up.