Baby Nearly Killed By Walmart’s Indifference

With the heat wave searing American soil lately, it becomes more and more important to not lock your baby in the van in a Walmart parking lot.

After doing just that this weekend, Rita reports she beseeched Walmart employees to help her. One mumbled “sorry” and kept pushing shopping carts. Another said, “I’ll have to ask my manager.”

A fellow shopper got a jack from his trunk and smashed the back window. Rita took the sleeping, sweaty baby and revived it under the faucet in the Walmart bathroom.

Rita confronted the managers, who appeared nonchalant. An ambulance pulled into the parking lot, but it was called in by another customer, not the store. Rita asked why. The manger said, “Well, you needed to verbally request that we call 911.”

When your baby’s trapped in the car, you don’t ask for permission. You grab whatever is in reach and get her out. Apologize later.

But as Rita notes in her letter after the jump, the affair seems to reveal a lack of proper emergency situation training among Walmart employees…


Ritta writes:

“I found your site, and thought I would share my “horror” story with you about my local Walmart in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Truly, a horror story it was.

I went to Walmart today to do some school shopping for my oldest daughter. I took my youngest girl, who has just turned 1, with me for the ride. The shopping experience was not so bad, no worst than any other time I’ve been there.

So after I bought what I needed, and paid, I returned to my vehicle to head home. I left my van unlocked (I’m overly trusting no one would steal anything from me), so I open the side door and place my infant in her car seat, then place the bags on the floor board.

Before I put my baby in, I had placed my purse on the floorboard. I shut the side door, and as luck would have it, all the doors locked up on me. They’ve never done this to me, so I was shocked. I realized that my purse was in the van, along with my keys. I tried all doors, and surely, they were all locked. Panic set in. It was about 104 degrees outside, and we all know how quickly a vehicle can turn into an oven on these kind of days.

So I turn around and see one of their employees pushing carts back up to the store. I run up to him and ask him to please help me, my baby’s locked in my van. He shrugs at me and says “sorry” and continues to push his carts. I quickly look around and see nothing that I can grab to break out my back window, so I quickly run into the store (I’m parked close to the front) and I approach the first cashier I see. She was ringing up a customer, and I ask her frantically to please help me, my baby’s trapped in my van. Again, like the first, she looks at me uncomfortably and says “I’m sorry, I can’t help you”.

I’m flabbergasted at this point. I run to the next cashier, and tell her the same, but this time crying and screaming. I had the whole store stopped. She says “I don’t know what I can do for you ma’am”, so I ask her if I can grab something from the store, to go break my window, I would come in and pay for it after wards. She says “I have to call my manager”, then she SLOWLY proceeds to dial through, and starts to chit chat! Like it was no big deal.

Time is running out. It had been about a minute at this point and it only takes 2 minutes for a baby to suffocate from the heat, or go into a heat stroke. So I run back out, they weren’t going to help. I start yelling at passer byers, screaming and crying, “Please somebody help me, I need something hard to break through my back window, my baby’s locked in my van, she’ll die!!!!”. I had never been so frantic in my life, and to see my helpless child slowly falling into a sleep while sweating was scaring me.

Finally a WONDERFUL young man (a customer) gets into his trunk and gets his jack. He breaks through my back window, and we get the doors unlocked and get my child out. She was limp (like she was involuntarily falling asleep) and her skin was so hot to the touch, as well as sweating pretty good. I rush her into Walmart’s bathroom and place her under the sink to cool her off. She started to react and acted startled and frightened.

I finally get back out into the cashier’s area, and ask to speak with the manager. Two men came out and approached me and asked what was going on. I relayed everything to them, and as I was finishing up, the lady who had been helping me try to get help this whole time (again, another customer) hears a siren getting closer, so she asks the manager “is that the ambulance, should we meet them outside?” The manager looks clueless at her, and says “we didn’t call anyone.” So then she asks why. The managers response, “she didn’t ask us to call anyone.”… I was shocked, and the lady with me was also a bit unnerved.

So then I ask “A woman comes screaming through your store, yelling that her baby is trapped in her locked van, it’s 104 degrees outside, and she IS asking for someone to help her, and that’s not enough to call an ambulance???” The managers response to that was “well, you needed to verbally request that we call 911.”

Wow.. I had never heard such nonsense in all my life. At that point I burst back into tears out of frustration for their negligence and inconsideration, so I just left at that point and told them they’d hear from my lawyer. I understand that stores are not “equipped” in most cases for these kind of emergencies, but they should be trained. “In case of this type of emergency with a customer, do this, for this kind do this” and so on. But trained or not, equipped or not, it would not have been hard (and it’s common sense) to know that vehicles heat up, this IS an emergency and time is precious at those moments. The least they could have done was say “grab what you need to break your window, we’ll call the paramedics.” But, because they were so insensitive to the emergency and obviously not caring of life (let alone an innocent baby, who is helpless) they almost caused my child to die.

I wanted to share this story, and I will be popping up in other places too. I will use every avenue I can find to relay my story. People will know how Walmart, due to their carelessness to act, almost cost a precious young life to fade away. Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this. Take care.”

Comments

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  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    I am deeply sorry about the events that happened, and at the apparent nonchalance of the walmart staff.
    A couple things need to be brought up though:

    -Exactly what obligation do the employees have to help someone outside the store?

    We know that this was an emergency situation, and that from the mother’s vantage point the whole world should stop and help her out. I agree with this. There’s nothing more frightening than watching your child in danger. From the cashiers’ vantage point things might have looked a little different. Here’s a lady screaming around in the store asking to take something and then come back and pay for it, or asking one of the cashiers (who are the least able people to help in the whole store) for assistance. If I were ringing out a line of people I don’t know if I’d be able to just drop everything and run outside with a brick. It’s the right thing to do but it’s a tough call to make with angry people in line.

    -How is it Walmart’s fault?

    The mother locked her keys in her car accidentally. That really sucks, and unfortunately happens far too often. I can’t stress enough my sympathy for how badly that must feel. Again though, if someone came up to me while I was working, and asked me to help them break their own car window I don’t know how I’d react. Too many things in the world turn out to be scams and too many people turn out to be sue-happy that How would I know this person wasn’t trying to get a lawsuit on me and on my job for breaking her window? Besides, that this happened at Walmart was mostly coincidence. The same thing could have happened at Lowe’s or Target or the mall, with the same result. It’s not really a training issue, because it’s not something that they need to prepare for. It’s like expecting there to be instructions on how to save someone from drowning in the employee handbook. Just how often does that happen to warrant specific training on it?

    It sucks but people generally don’t want to get involved anymore in other people’s lives. The mother needs to accept that she fell into an unfortunate string of events but none of them were caused by Walmart.

    Still though, I fucking hate Walmart.

  2. Josh R. says:

    I’ve never had a really terrible experience at a big box store, but they do seem to have a lot of slackers working the menial jobs. And if the task is even SLIGHTLY outside their purview.

    Example: I stopped by Target to get something… I don’t remember what… and I noticed a car with its lights on in the parking lot. So I went up to customer service and told them the make, model, and license number.

    They said “we don’t make announcements on the PA.”

  3. Pelagius says:

    I’m happy to hear that, minus one busted window, everything turned out for the best in the end. That said, I agree with DJQ that there’s an element of “blame Walmart” to this complaint.
    I prefer to blame lawyers and insurance companies, as it is the threat of lawsuits and premium hikes that have killed samaritanism in this country (and soon, THE WORLD!) Good Samaritan laws exist in all 50 states, but may not apply in all situations.

  4. Ishmael says:

    I have to agree with DeeJayQueue. This is a horrible situation that this woman was in, but where is the line between corporate responsibility and personal responsibility? Wal-Mart really has no reason to specifically train their employees on what to do if someone locks their baby in a hot car.

    On the other hand, it was just plain shitty of the managers to just stand there like idiots. One of them could have grabbed something heavy off the shelves and run outside with the woman. Once he saw the baby in the car, and with all the witnesses she left in the store, I don’t think it would be too hard to get out of any lawsuit she might have brought if this were a scam.

    And never, ever ask a cashier to help you. They are low man on the totem pole. Go to the Customer Service desk, or that little podium you find near the middle of the cashier lanes. You’re more likely to find a manager or supervisor there that can actually help you.

  5. SpecialK says:

    Hell, it’s not just blame Wal-Mart down in Ft. Walton Beach. Note that she’s sort of blaming the car, too: “Before I put my baby in, I had placed my purse on the floorboard. I shut the side door, and as luck would have it, all the doors locked up on me. They’ve never done this to me, so I was shocked.”

    Uh, now that I’m done blaming the victim…

  6. etinterrapax says:

    I agree about not asking cashiers for help, but not because they can’t in the sense of being powerless. They can’t because it’s the kind of job where you have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. I’ll never forget the day I was given the business by the CSM because I took myself off to the bathroom during a slow period and wasn’t given express permission to go. I pretty much resolved right then to finish college at any cost. I had the luxury of leaving, but a lot of cashiers don’t. It’s the very root of the problem with the company’s employment practices–they treat people shittily because people need any job so badly that they take it.

    I also agree that this isn’t expressly a Wal-Mart problem, although on a more abstract level, it is a missed opportunity for the company to have good publicity. Wouldn’t a headline reading “Wal-Mart Employee Rescues Baby” reflect much better on the company? There was no real reason for the cart-pusher not to help her. The company PR people ought to wake up to the fact that when you’re already struggling, people will sooner look to prove what they already hear about you, than to disprove it. The only way for them to turn the tide of public opinion is to not only meet expectations re: being a good corporate citizen, but to exceed them, on every level, consistently, for a period of years.

  7. homerjay says:

    I agree as well. Its likely that you don’t have any legal recourse here but it couldn’t hurt to check. However, what you DO have is a voice and now a sounding board.

    I hate to pound this one into the ground but I’m sure the AOL rep didn’t think much of Vincent Ferrari at the time just like the WalMart manager didn’t think much of you.

    By the way, just because it happened outside the store doesn’t mean it was off WalMart property. The parking lot is no different than the inside of the store.

  8. Paul D says:

    Baby dies in hot car after Wal-mart employees refuse to help mother unlock doors

    That kind of headline is reason enough as to why Wal-mart has an interest in helping.

    Is it Wal-mart’s fault the woman locked her keys in her car?
    No.

    But when employee after employee blithely refuses to help, Wal-mart’s
    culpability grows. If the baby had died, it doesn’t take a genius to
    see Wal-mart’s role in the death.

  9. WMeredith says:

    You should change your headline to read:

    Baby nearly killed by accident, Wal-Mart: Indifferent.

    As it reads now it’s hurting your credibility with anyone who reads the actual story.

  10. Okayplayer says:

    It’s called being a responsible parent. I’m getting a little sick of everyone looking to blame their own (yes, accidental in this case) mistakes on some other entity.

    Yes, it would have been incredibly sad for everyone had the child died. Sad for the employee’s that did nothing. Sad for Walmart that would undoubtably taken some heat. But most sad for the mother who would have had to live with the memory that she was actually the one that caused her childs death. But you know what, she would have been the cause as well and that is just life.

  11. aka Cat says:

    Anyone who’s never locked their keys in their car either:

    a) doesn’t drive a car.
    b) doesn’t lock their car doors.
    c) is lying.
    d) is so OCD they barely ever make it out of the house.

    I say, it’s on Wal-Mart’s property, it’s their problem.

    At the very least, they should have called 911. Sending a security guard out with a nightstick would have been a very intelligent bonus move.

  12. There’s hardly a more powerful instinct than to want to help another person in immediate danger. If a work environment–and not just War-Mart’s–is so insufferable or degrading or fear-inducing that an employee says “there’s nothing I can do” to a woman whose baby will die in minutes, then yes, there’s something wrong with Wal-Mart and its employees. They have no legal responsibility to train their staff how to aid people in such a situation. But the moral responsibility is indisputable. If that baby had died, the death would have been on the employees’ heads.

  13. Why didn’t she just break the window herself?

  14. Vinny says:

    That’s my question.

    What, you need someone to do it for you?

    Frankly, I don’t know if I would’ve either. Let’s say you break the window for this woman and a piece of glass hits the baby’s eye. How long before there’s a lawsuit?

    And before you shoot back, “I wouldn’t do that,” we’re not really talking about you, we’re talking about the general public, which is all I can base a decision on whether or not the average person when presented with a situation would sue. Unfortunately the climate of our world, right now, is that they will.

    Grab a hammer, nail, or whatever and do it yourself. Hell, you’re standing outside a Wal-Mart. Go in, grab a hammer, and do it your damn self.

  15. aka Cat says:

    Have you guys tried to break a car window lately? She said she was trying to find something to break the window, that she wanted to borrow/buy something from the store.

  16. MrEleganza says:

    I, for one, am comforted to know that Vinny would apparently let the kid die rather than risk being sued. Perhaps he will regale us with another comment about how it’s the “general public” that is only looking out for themselves, and not him.

  17. TedSez says:


    Isn’t Walmart the chain that encourages people with campers to stay in their parking lots overnight?

    Given that policy, you’d think they would train employees to deal with emergency situations. (Assuming, of course, that the employees aren’t locked in the store overnight at the same time.)

  18. DeeJayQueue says:

    Knowlege that you helped save a kid’s life is of little comfort when you face financial ruin from being sued by a frantic mother after you break her car window and either glass or the projectile hits something/someone it shouldn’t, or worse, jail time if the kid gets injured “by accident”.
    If we’re talking about “which is more important, getting sued or saving a kid’s life?” then why was the mother so concerned with the legality of grabbing something off the shelf from the store? Just grab it and break the window. Come back and pay for it later.
    From walmart’s POV, if they DID step in and something happened, they’re legally culpable. It’s the same reason they tell you not to pursue shoplifters out of the store. It’s not the most humanitarian stance to have, and under emergency circumstances it’s easy to seem cold and impersonal but this is walmart here… the people are clinging onto a job for dear life and they aren’t about to do anything to jeopardize that.

    I bet from now on this lady keeps a spare key on her or hidden on the outside of the car.

  19. AcilletaM says:

    OK, I have to ask this but how does this woman break the window herself? As to grabbing something off the shelf from the store, do you really think she gets back to her car before security grabs her? A hysterical woman in the front of the store tends to get the attention of the people manning the cameras. Seriously, a woman yelling and screaming and going cashier to cashier then runs to the back of the store where hardware is and grabs a hammer and tries to run back to the parking lot, which of the security officers risks his/her job letting this happen?

    I don’t think this is the typical evil Wal-Mart story. I doubt if it has anything to do with corporate policies. I doubt if there would be any legal finding against them. But, I do think it would be nothing by bad publicity if there was any kind of trial. How fast would this store start being called ‘Death-Mart’?

    I think the behavior of the employees is rotten and the other customers. Such apathy is becoming the norm for Americans. Maybe it is because of lawsuits and lawyers but in any case, it’s a sad state of our country today.

  20. AcilletaM says:

    DJQ, legal culpability aside, babies dying in parking lots doesn’t sell anything.

  21. GenXCub says:

    I think we’re also missing the point that beyond the fact that they stood idly by (for whatever reason), it makes for horrid customer service, which is what we’re all about on this site. It’s like calling tech support (when you’re not covered by contract) with a problem and their response is “sucks to be you… click.” Reasonable companies will make every attempt to help to get another sale, and to get good word of mouth. Wal Mart could have done something (“Here’s something to break into your car”) and help off-set some of the evil wal mart stories out there.

  22. MrEleganza says:

    “Knowlege that you helped save a kid’s life is of little comfort when you face financial ruin from being sued…”

    The moral repugnance of that stance aside, it also makes a lot of presumptions that give you justification to avoid doing the right thing. For one, it’s not like you’re guaranteed to hit the baby in the eye or injure her. For two, although we’ve all read the cases of good samaritans being sued, you’re kidding yourself into believing what you want to believe if you think it’s epidemic or even likely that would happen. For three, even if she DID sue, opportunistic lawsuits like these are overwhelmingly dismissed.

    Again, there’s some high-profile exceptions, but the reason they become high-profile is because they give people an excuse to be selfish and blame society. Do some research on tort reform and you’ll find a whole lot of myths being taken for granted as fact.

  23. Vinny says:

    opportunistic lawsuits like these are overwhelmingly dismissed.

    Like the one where the idiotic women spilled coffee in her crotch?

    Every single day we hear stories of some dumb lawsuit where the plaintiff won. Don’t act like it’s such a rarity. I wouldn’t have done it. I would’ve taken my phone out of my pocket and called 911 and let the police or fire department deal with it.

    And yeah, it may warm the cochles of your heart to know that I’m not interested in ruining my life. What a bastard I am. How dare I not want to take the risk of getting sued off the planet. How dare I think of my family and not hers. What a bastard I am.

  24. MrEleganza says:

    Everyone uses the McDonalds/coffee example because it’s the only one they know. ‘Cause it is indeed a rarity. But if it happens five times a year, that’s 30 cases since 2000….plenty to demonstrate an imaginary epidemic if you’re familiar with them.

    That said, if you call 911, as far as I’m concerned, you did you part. But if, say, your cell phone died, and you said, “Sorry, lady…things look bleak for your baby, but if I bust the windown open, the shards might hit your baby. And then you might sue me. And then you might win a huge settlement from me. So, sorry,” then yeah, you are indeed the bastard you described yourself to be.

  25. DeeJayQueue says:

    She breaks the window with the same thing she expected the manager or the cashier to have. Anything blunt and heavy. Hardware isn’t the only place to find such objects, and as the woman said time was ticking away. If the ‘woman’ part was the part that was being emphasized, then that’s just plain BS. A hysterical woman with a baby stuck inside her hot car is perfectly capable of breaking a window.

    @ Mr. Eleganza: “For one, it’s not like you’re guaranteed to hit the baby in the eye or injure her.” You’re right. The odds of that happening are about the same as locking your purse and keys in the car with your infant on a hot day.

    The point is that the lady is pissed that nobody at WALMART helped her. The employees weren’t the only ones there… there were plenty of customers and other people standing around just as capable of helping, but didn’t. Shame on them? Of course. Write angry letters to their mothers? No. Walmart has a big public face, and a bad reputation, so lets drag them through the mud. If enough sticks maybe get a lawsuit going.

  26. MrEleganza says:

    DeeJayQueue,

    I don’t really disagree with anything you said there, although as equivocally rare as it might be to hit the kid with a shard (and getting sued and losing a big settlement) vs. locking your keys in your car, I don’t know…seems like one might want to take the chance and the statistics when a baby’s life is on the line.

    The way I see it is simple. If the baby did die, Wal-Mart has no culpability. But if they could’ve helped but didn’t, they are tremendous a-holes. If you’re a private citizen who is aware of the situation and have the ability to act on it, you have no obligation to do so either, but you are a tremendous a-hole if you don’t.

    With a life at stake, it’s not the time to be pointing at other people, scratching your head, and saying, “Now, WHO should bust this window?”

    Now, since this matter is resolved, we can then start pointing fingers. Should the mother have busted open the window? Yes, of course. But again…when a life is at risk, and the mother’s is screaming at me to help her do things she could do herself, I would hope that I would be focused on saving the baby and not even noticing whether she SHOULD be asking ME for help.

    But citing the potential for a frivolous, ungrateful, preposterous lawsuit to succeed as a reason not to intervene is just an excuse to be the coward that, unfortunately, it’s instinctive to try to be.

  27. Mr. Black says:

    My question is, when 911 (EMS or police) arrive, after the baby was checked, was the mother arrested for child neglect? What kind of idiot leaves their baby in a car? This happens ALL the time and in every State. The answer is it’s an accident, or I was so busy I forgot…this is your child, you put your child first before you start thinking, “I wonder if Walmart still has those pillows on sale”.

    If the lady had enough time to run around yelling at everyone, she had enough time to call 911 herself from a payphone…usually located in the FRONT of a store. Again, if this was such an emergency, all the more reason this so-called-mother should be charged or at the very least ordered to attend child-welfare classes.

  28. MrEleganza says:

    “My question is, when 911 (EMS or police) arrive, after the baby was checked, was the mother arrested for child neglect? What kind of idiot leaves their baby in a car? …this is your child, you put your child first before you start thinking, “I wonder if Walmart still has those pillows on sale”.

    Yeahhh…um, you didn’t really read the lady’s letter on how things went down, did you?

  29. GoEliGo???? says:

    Mr Black, did you read the story? The lady in questions was loading her car AFTER she had gone shopping when she accidentally locked it. It wasn’t like she left the baby in the car while she went pillow shopping.

  30. Mr. Black,

    Please read the post carefully. She didn’t leave the baby in her car. She took the baby in shopping with her, and after putting the baby back in the car, she accidentally locked herself out. The only time she left the baby in the car was to go find help to get the baby out.

    As for 911, in this situation, EMS or police would likely have been too late. Babies are fragile, and in a van in 104 degree heat, you need to act fast. Five minutes would have been too long.

    Given that she had locked her purse insider her car, she probably didn’t have anything to help her break open a window. Going into the store for help was absolutely the right thing to do.

  31. billhelm says:

    1. find somebody in the parking lot
    2. ask to borrow the tire iron from their car for 20 seconds.
    3. smash window
    4. return tire iron

    seems simple enough, and wal mart doesn’t even have to get involved.

    which is what she eventually did, but still…

  32. Paula says:

    Despite the fear of lawsuits and the like from breaking the window, the employees should have at least called 911. *Everybody* should be trained to do that in an emergency situation. And Wal-Mart employees especially should be trained on what to do in emergencies, since they have so many people going through their stores every day and there must be situations like these all the time. What if someone collapses between the aisles, having a heart attack, are they going to say to the corpse, “sorry, you didn’t verbally request that we call 911, you just said help me, I’m having a heart attack”?

  33. LLH says:

    if it was in wal-mart’s parking lot it is wal-marts property to which it most likely is insured there for they are liable for negligence. no, it wasn’t their fault that the keys were locked in the car, but taking no action to help WAS they’re mistake. and besides, being a human being you would want to at least act like there was a need for urgency. wow. that heat must have really made wal-mart employees more retarded than usual.

  34. Mr. Black says:

    MrEleganza, Die Eli Die, Richard Garfinkel…since you didn’t get the point of what I was saying, she DID leave her baby in the car. If she didn’t, there article wouldn’t be here. It’s not relevant whether it occured before or after she went shopping (and yes, I did read it was after). My point was she was too careless, and as a result locked her own baby in a hot car. She’s blaming Walmart and launching a negative campaign against them when the one who should be blamed is her.

  35. AcidReign says:

    …..I’m a manager, and I’d hate to have done what the Walmart guys did. (Indecisiveness ends up on performance reviews!) I’d expect my employees to tell me immediately about this sort of situation, and I’d have broken the window, even if it cost me my job, or I had to pay for it.

    …..And… if it were my kid, and I’d messed up, you’d better believe I’d have broken that window immediately. That baby would have been dead inside 5 minutes in Alabama in July. No way I run inside the store and leave it!

  36. ckilgore says:

    I think what this speaks to more than whether or not it would or wouldn’t be Wal-Mart’s fault is the sort of bixarre zombie-like behaviour that can overtake seemingly normal people when they work at places like this.

    You know how every once in a while you get a new person at a big box store, or encounter someone who is genuinely helpful? It’s a really noticeable and remarkable thing. But eventually most people working at Wal-Marts, fast food restaurants, etc. get to the point where someone telling you their child may die makes you shrug your shoulders, say ‘sorry’ and keep walking.

    Maybe it’s the feeling of being a cog in a giant machine that would continue to run just as smoothly even if you fell off the face of the Earth tomorrow, because something is sucking out these people’s souls. Maybe after these people start beleiving that they have no ownership in what they are supposed to be doing for a living, it just sort of numbs them to even the most urgent situations.

  37. Kat says:

    I strongly sympathize. Some psycho on a motorcycle accused me of almost hitting him as I drove into the Wal-Mart parking lot. He started following me around the lot and screaming profanities at me. I was scared… I drove up to the sidewalk in front of the store, and he started putting his wheel in front of my car so I couldn’t move. The only way I could get away was to drive up on the sidewalk, so I did. I screamed at an employee, out my passenger window (the psycho was at my driver’s window), “get security and get this guy away from me!” He looks at the employee next to him and goes, “should I get security?” The guy left, and a manager came out. I was badly shaken and so I didn’t think to ask for the police, so they didn’t call the police. Fortunately a cart pusher I happened to know saw me, asked what happened. He walked next to my car as I parked it and walked me into the store. The manager was a jerk, like, “what do you want us to do about it?” Oh and of course, store security had nothing on their cameras. I really wish I had called the police that day.

  38. Kat says:

    Oh, and Mr. Black? I assume you never made a mistake in your life.

  39. MrEleganza says:

    Why, not only does he make mistakes, he did so on his first post on this thread! He wrote, “What kind of idiot leaves their baby in a car? …this is your child, you put your child first before you start thinking, “I wonder if Walmart still has those pillows on sale”.”

    It’s clear from that statement he thought this was a case of someone forgetting about their child and leaving them in a car, and that, as me and others said, HE DID NOT READ THE ORIGINAL post all the way through. His second post is just BS and a weak attempt at disguising the obvious.

  40. Mr. Black says:

    Mistakes…plenty…locking my baby sister in a car, never. To me, that isn’t a “mistake”, its a sign of someone who needs parenting classes. If the baby died, this situation would have been handled in a whole different manner. Walmart wouldn’t be investigated, but the mother would be.

  41. etinterrapax says:

    Coming back and reading the thread, I don’t want to change my first post, but I do think that the real lesson for the mom is to never put her baby and her purse in the car at the same time without her. If the keys don’t work, you have your cell phone; you dial 911 first and seek help on foot second. It’s also a good argument for manual override of electronic locks, though that would probably cause a theft problem. I don’t know, I’m just thinking. I doubt this would have happened to me, not because I did anything consciously to avoid it, but because I seem never to put my purse into the car until I get in it myself–a habit from before I had a baby. A good one, it seems.

    Bottom line is that when something like this happens and tragedy is averted, a good use of one’s energy is to think about what happened and plan ahead to prevent its happening again. Getting Wal-Mart to be a less doinky company is laudable, but not terribly practical on an individual basis, and a mom has a responsibility to her child(ren) to be practical first.

  42. AcidReign says:

    …..Here, here! etinterrapax is a rare individual I’d trust to watch over my children.

  43. etinterrapax says:

    Well, I’ve been a mom for all of two months and haven’t dropped him yet. But I appreciate the faith. :D

  44. The Bans says:

    I am only sad that the baby has to be raised by a parent who is more concerned with the financial inconvience of a broken window than the well being of her child. Why was it?so important to not instantly smash out a window and deal with it later. I’m glad walmart did nothing, not their fault for faulty parenting. Granted its a horrible thing to have happen to you but had Walmart done something and a tiny shard of glass hit the baby then Walmart would have been sued for that.

    I only wish that tire iron would have smashed through the window slipping from the guy’s hand and hitting the baby in the soft spot. She is a selfish “independent woman” who feels that her automobile status is more important than the next generation of brats she decided to spawn into this world. I don’t like child services but this is an instance where they need to step in.

  45. SadSam says:

    DeeJayQ – don’t we all, including wal-mart employees, have some responsibility to act as humans and to act to stop human suffering.

    You gotta specifically ask for the store to call 911 in an emergency?! Its an emergency, if someone says call 911 b/c XYZ is happening do it, act like a human and pretend you care!

  46. ThyGuy says:

    As a consumer, I stand by Wal-mart. She did something ignorant; she faced the penalties for doing something stupid. Legally, did Wal-Mart have to help her? No, they could have even told her to get off their property because she was causing a scene. At least we know she likely won’t ever make that kind of mistake again.

    As a person who is one the head people of a corporation; I would have it so employees called the police immediately upon seeing a frantic female running around. I would have employees immediately call 911 if I knew a life threatening situation was occurring. But I wouldn’t let any employee intervene; it wouldn’t happen: they would be fired and counter sued if any charges were placed upon the company because of their hero tactics. The same would be done to the mother if the company was sued because another customer was traumatized by the death of the baby and sued.

    Sounds pretty damn cold of me, but I run on cold logic, not by ethnics and emotional response.

  47. superlayne says:

    @The Bans: What is wrong with you? Was your mother killed by a yuppie? That is sick and inexcusable to say about someone’s child. This woman wasn’t worried about her car. She couldn’t get in it! She wanted to get her baby out and safe, but she couldn’t. To say the baby’s life should have been taken for a sin no one committed is almost as disgusting as the apathy this woman was treated with.

    @Mr. Black: She didn’t leave her baby in the van. She put in her purse, her baby, and then closed the door. The doors locked on her. No leaving involved. She only left to get help.

    Again, though, it isn’t Wal*Mart’s fault. Cars really need to be equipped with some kind of automatic “all locked” air conditioner control. That would make a really nice option for “soccer mom mobiles” to prevent things like this from happening.

  48. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    This is the reason I think biometric locks should be required on cars or one of those smartkey systems with a manual override well placed within the door handle or something. The way a smartkey works is that the car won’t lock up unless the key is OUTSIDE the car. And if all car locks were biometric she would have been able to get the baby out in about a minute.

  49. fatal616 says:

    Why didn’t the woman walk in the store, walk up to customer service and say “please call 911, i locked my baby in the car” OR better yet how much you want to bet she passed a phone booth on her way in. She’s probably one of those mothers that freak out when they lose their kid and start running around in horror to the point where you cannot understand what they are saying or trying to do. I hope she really wasn’t expecting an associate to break her window because if one would have done that you know this report would say “Mother sues Walmart for saving baby” Welcome to America.

  50. tscampbe says:

    I cannot even express my growing disgust with the apathetic, lethargic country I find myself native to. To even be discussing whose fault an accident may be that involves a child’s life, nay, any one’s life is despicable. This women did not leave her purse in there for the thrill of rescue. She is not trying to scam Wal-mart, they scam their consumer’s because they recently neglected to put oil in my car during an oil change, denied my claim, and are ignoring me. Can you people spell compassion, or is that a distant memory of the age of chivalry? I am a 19 year old female, struggling to pay 30K a year for my university education and all I can think is that I would have gladly lost my job, or hell even broken my arm to help a fellow human being. Everyday my faith in man kind is exponentially lowered and this drops the bar like a fat man drops to-furkey on Thanksgiving.

  51. Buran says:

    @CatMoran: So it’s the store’s fault if person A backs into person B? Just because they owned the property?

    I don’t think so.

  52. Buran says:

    @IRSistherootofallevil: Biometrics aren’t perfect — they can be fooled, just like key locks can be. And what if they refuse to recognize a valid unlock request?

    If you are this worried about locking something in your car, why not get one with OnStar? The system is designed in part for situations like this in which someone has locked their keys in their car and are away from home and cannot use a second key to retrieve their item(s) and the first key.

    This story seems to me like the woman wanting to blame anyone else for her failing to ensure that the vehicle she drives was equipped with this option or an equivalent one.

  53. krazykirk says:

    Where I work, (K-Mart in Australia) we have pretty much no training on what to do in a emergency, but if i was in that situation, i would run to the auto section, grab something like a crowbar and worry about the consquences later! Someone’s life is at stake!

    But if someone say… had a heart attack in the middle of the store, i would run to the service desk and raise a alarm or just get my moblie and call 000!
    (000 is the Australian equiv of 911)

  54. Canadian Impostor says:

    @DeeJayQueue:

    Exactly what obligation do the employees have to help someone outside the store?

    They have an obligation as human fucking beings to help someone in distress.

  55. Canadian Impostor says:

    @krazykirk: Exactly. You don’t need to be specifically trained in “parking lot hot van baby rescue” to help. She needs help breaking a window, you have access to baseball bats. Plus, you get the chance to smash someone’s window in and be the good guy.

  56. Groovymarlin says:

    Some of these comments really make me worry about the reading comprehension skills of society at large. Seriously, it’s like 10 people read a story and at least five of them completely misunderstand what is being described, or only see instead what their own prejudices and issues lead them to see.

    I don’t think it’s Walmart’s fault that this happened, and the way they reacted (or more accurately, failed to react) was not illegal per se, but it sure was insensitive and bone-headed. Where the hell was security in all of this? Doesn’t Walmart have security guards or something? That first employee she approached, who was pushing carts, should have immediately called for security or a manager. All the dudes pushing carts at my local Target have walkie-talkies, didn’t the Walmart guy?

    Anyway, as the parent of a 10-month-old little girl, I can definitely relate to the terror this poor woman felt. Yes it was an accident, and maybe from now on she’ll make sure she has her keys or at least her cell phone in her pocket at all times. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t sympathize with her for what was surely a frightening experience, and Walmart’s indifferent and inept response to it.

  57. Buran says:

    @tscampbe: So it’s unfair to blame people for lack of foresight and consequent blaming of other people? I think she should have gotten more help than she did, but still, she did several stupid things, such as setting her keys down INSIDE the car and assuming they wouldn’t be locked inside — never do that! — and not having bought a car with OnStar, etc. Whose fault is it, to use a totally hypothetical example, if I crash into someone when antilock brakes could have saved me, if I could have been driving a car with antilock brakes? Mine.

    Our “it’s not my fault and other people should have helped me after I did something stupid, so it’s their fault I almost caused a disaster due to lack of foresight” culture is abhorrent. You’re complaining about faith in humanity? Try complaining about our cultural failure to take responsibility for our own actions, first.

  58. freshwater says:

    Just a comment for those of you blaming evil lawsuits for your utter lack of compassion for someone who made a mistake and then tried to get help:

    You can’t get sued for doing something someone asked you to. If someone asks you to break her window, you are not liable for the damages it caused. Consent is a complete defense against a claim of negligence.

    Something like 47 states have good samaritan laws that explicitly prevent lawsuits against people who have attempted to help another in an emergency situation.

    The lady who sued McDonalds for the coffee eventually lost. Yes, it made it into the news because a jury initially found her story sympathetic and awarded her a big verdict. But that verdict was overturned. In part, because she was legally responsible for opening her coffee cup in a moving car. She was only entitled to something like half damages because of that responsibility. Also, the appellate court overturned the punitive damages awarded by a jury. So McDonalds only had to pay a small fraction of what went out in the news directly after the trial, and that went to medical bills.

  59. strathmeyer says:

    Too bad nobody involved had current lifesaving training, or they could be sued.

    freshwaters comments seem way off base. When McDonalds was serving dangerously hot coffee in order to save money after the government had told them to stop, and injured customer did sue and win, and yes the damages were reduced by the judge, but the original damages were still less than the amount of money that McDonalds saved every day by serving dangerously hot coffee.

    Also, freshwater, she didn’t open the cup of coffee in the moving car. Newsflash: at some point after leaving a drive through, your car is probably going to be moving. I’m sorry that you love McDonalds and obesity, but there is no need to slander the victim.