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…
“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.”