A lot of stuff is overheard in grocery lines. One of the most common things you’ll hear is an adult casually talking to some of the kids in line ahead of them. Maybe they will comment on how cute the kid’s hat is, how nice and quiet they are being in line, or something as non-challant as a smile and wave. For most parents, this kind of unsolicited attention is not a good or a bad thing. It’s just something that happens when you take kids out into the public.
If anything, it should be taken as a compliment because some stranger has found your child so cute they just had to say something.
One mom in Longview, Texas had a much more complicated experience in the grocery line one day. A little commentary here and there turned into what she thought was an attempted kidnapping of her child for nefarious means. Human trafficking? Child pornography stunts? She could not be sure, and she definitely did not want to find out.
Amanda Cropsey Florczykowski was just waiting in line to pay for her groceries. She had her kids with her like always, which included a toddler sitting in the food cart. When Amanda pulled her out of the cart, the couple in front took notice and began chatting with the little girl.
Here are the details, according to Amanda:
“… the typical conversation about how “cute your daughter is” and then asked about her age, repeatedly … I quickly became uncomfortable with the woman’s body language and close proximity to my cart/kids. I picked my daughter up only to have the woman ask if she could hold her. The woman was so close at this point that my toddler reached her arms around the woman before I could really respond.”
The pushy behavior of these strangers was so odd and so direct that the cashier even treated them as close friends or even family. Who could blame them when they see a woman holding a toddler? Nothing could be further from the truth for Amanda, who at this point was worrying about how close the lady was coming to her toddler.
Here’s what happened after the woman began holding the baby:
“In an instant her proximity finally changed and she backed away. I grabbed back on to my daughter as the woman was saying, “Say bye to mommy” – what an unusual comment to provoke a child to say. The woman resisted returning her when I physically pulled my daughter from her arms.”
This all happened in a few split seconds and left Amanda quite frazzled. If you thought things ended there, you would be underestimating how strange humans can be.
After the couple and Amanda finished paying, Amanda was getting all packed up and ready to leave the store. As she was doing so she noticed the man lurking in a closed cashier line watching her every move.
“After this couple left, I was really shaken up but still noticed the man a few feet away in my peripheral vision, continuing to stand, by himself, with no groceries, in a closed check-out lane. He faced the opposite direction, but was looking over his shoulder at me … His eyes did not leave my every move … I loudly conversed with the cashier about their security staff and the odd couple that seemed predatory.”
When Amanda got home she quickly researched sex trafficking behavior to see if she could learn anything. Sure enough, a lot of what she read corresponded to what she had just experienced. Her Facebook post about the whole ordeal acts as a precious and important reminder to parents never to let their guard down!