Bed, Bath & Beyond Will Not Let You Use The Phone To Call 911

UPDATES: Charges Filed Against Bed, Bath & Beyond Manager Who Refused To Allow 911 Call
BB&B Responds To Customer Complaint Over 911 Debacle

Bed, Bath & Beyond refused to let some customers use the phone to call 911 after they saw a toddler locked in a hot car in the store’s parking lot. The witnesses told the local news that the employees told them, “…You cannot call no one, what goes on in the parking lot is not our concern.”

“I said, lady, there is a child out there in a hot car and it’s locked and it needs help. And I said, will you let us use your phone and call and she said no, we will not get involved.”

The Lexington police arrived, smashed the car window and gave the 3-year-old some water. The mother was arrested and charged with wanton endangerment. Meanwhile, Bed, Bath & Beyond has issued a statement about the incident.

“The customer did ask the store to contact the authorities, the store suggested that the customer, who had witnessed the situation, contact 911. We are pleased that the manner was addressed in a timely manner and will use this incident as a training opportunity.”

Police: Toddler In Hot Van For 45 Min. [LEX 18 News] (Thanks, Doug!)
(Photo: Morton Fox )

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  1. joemono says:

    Bed, Bath & Beyond Common Sense.

  2. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    But they don’t take small children locked in hot cars very seriously?

  3. Wes_Sabi says:

    People don’t have cell phones in Lexington?

    • jamesdenver says:

      @Wes_Sabi:

      Obviously not. You wasted time writing that? Not everone has a cell phone on them every single moment of the day.

      • stre says:

        @jamesdenver: we can all understand individuals not having cell phones with them, but there was a whole bed bath and beyond store full of people and no one had a cell phone? (or perhaps they did, since the police were called eventually)

    • djanes1 says:

      @Wes_Sabi: Well, they did have a cell phone, but who (in today’s economy) really wants to use up all their daytime minutes on trivialities like these?

    • bcsus83 says:

      @Wes_Sabi:

      No doubt. If I didn’t have my own cell, I’d be hounding every single person walking by. Every customer inside the store. Everyone I laid my eyes on until I found someone who DID have a cell phone.

      • @bcsus83: …And this excuses the employee’s failure to act like a decent/sane/reasonable human being how?

        I’m both astounded, and at the same time not surprised, that some commenters managed to make this sound like it was somehow, to some extent, the fault of the person trying to report an emergency. And yes, by taking the focus off the people who actually did wrong and putting it on the ways the people who tried to help could have done “better”, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

        Sheesh.

  4. They said you cannot call no one. That’s a double negative. So they could call. I love hitting employees with that kind of logic.

  5. Adisharr says:

    As part of their new training program, employees are going to be locked in a hot parked car for 8 hours.

  6. HalOfBorg says:

    I understand BB&B’s point of view – if we call police and there is no problem with the kid we can get sued – or something like that.

    Of course, if I even had that thought flash through my head I’d have said screw that and called 911 myself.

    • Propaniac says:

      @HalOfBorg: I really think ignoring a potentially dangerous situation would be a better way to get sued than calling emergency personnel to look into it, and I can’t believe that BB&B training would state otherwise.

    • ViperBorg says:

      @HalOfBorg: “I understand BB&B’s point of view – if we call police and there is no problem with the kid we can get sued – or something like that.”

      No, you should be covered under the Good Samaritan Law, but I can see the employee getting hit with a low degree child endangerment charge. She was told of the situation, and decided to restrict the person from using a phone to get emergency services. Rather or not she’d get convicted, I don’t know, but if I was the D.A., I sure as hell would, at least to send a message to the stores if nothing else. And yes, if it’s in your parking lot, you’re sure as hell liable. At least that’s how it was when I did mall security. If it’s in the parking lot in front of your store, it’s your problem, too.

      @timmus: “Holy shit — did corporate actually write that? That’s absolutely reprehensible.”
      Yeah, that blows my frackin’ mind too.

      @WisconsinDadof2: “So if the car was on fire, would they get involved?”
      No, they would suggest you go to Sears for a sale on grills.

      I never pass an opportunity to burn Sears.

      Damn, I’m on a roll today.

    • loganmo says:

      @HalOfBorg:

      I highly doubt someone who uses language like “You cannot call no one” is thinking about the legal liability of allowing someone to use the phone.

    • little stripes says:

      @HalOfBorg: “I understand BB&B’s point of view – if we call police and there is no problem with the kid we can get sued – or something like that.”

      But you can’t get sued if you DON’T let someone call 911 and someone DIES?

    • Dyscord says:

      @HalOfBorg: The kid was locked in a hot car? I would say that’s something wrong with him.

      One thing to ask though….isn’t 911 a free call from a payphone?

      • econobiker says:

        @Dyscord: “One thing to ask though….isn’t 911 a free call from a payphone?”

        There are no more payphones since they don’t make money for the stores due to cell phones. I too remember there used to be banks of phones in front of stores, but no more.

  7. timmus says:

    The customer did ask the store to contact the authorities, the store suggested that the customer, who had witnessed the situation, contact 911.

    Holy shit — did corporate actually write that? That’s absolutely reprehensible.

    • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

      @timmus: Wow, you actually wrote “reprehensible”, I dont even know if you spelled it correctly, I’d never have the balls to even attempt hit online.

      /cheers

  8. cpt.snerd says:

    “We are pleased that the manner was addressed in a timely manner…” – BY THE CUSTOMER! (if it were the customers who contacted the police, article didn’t say)

  9. WisconsinDadof2 says:

    What a statement from the corporate office “We are pleased that the manner was addressed in a timely manner…” No thanks to the boneheaded and ill-advised actions of the employees in the store. So if the car was on fire, would they get involved? “Training opportunity”, indeed.

  10. Jonbo298 says:

    “The customer did ask the store to contact the authorities, the store suggested that the customer, who had witnessed the situation, contact 911.”

    Wow, what a way to spin a potentially deadly situation…

  11. backbroken says:

    Hmmm….toddler locked in a hot car….

    Training opportunity!!!

    This deserves some kind of George Orwell award.

  12. backbroken says:

    Bed, Bath, and Beyond our front door is not our concern.

  13. timmus says:

    I understand BB&B’s point of view – if we call police and there is no problem with the kid we can get sued – or something like that.

    When someone is declaring an emergency, that’s not for anyone at BBB to decide. In fact, BBB is at greater risk of a lawsuit by interfering in an emergency than just being an intermediary in a false alarm situation. This is a classic case of asshole store management and an awful corporate response trying to back him up 100%.

  14. IphtashuFitz says:

    Heck, if the people in the store refused to call 911 then I would have simply gone over and pulled the nearest fire alarm. It would have cleared out the store, cost them money, and gotten the police & fire department there very quickly. Same end result but more costly to the store. I seriously doubt you’d get into trouble over a false alarm once everything is explained to the police.

    • @IphtashuFitz: You probably would with the fire department. You could also have injured someone, which would get you a charge of reckless endangerment. Heaven forbid the fire truck was then delayed to a real fire. Also you would have to deal with the alarm companies fees. Not a good idea. Your best bet would be to just break the window itself. I always keep a center punch in my car in case I get trapped in water. Let the mom press charges for breaking her window.

      • IphtashuFitz says:

        @Git Em SteveDave is starlost: Depending on the situation (if the child looked like he was in distress) the fire department likely would have been sent by 911 or requested by the police who showed up. They’d likely want to have paramedics check on the child. The only downside to pulling the alarm is that it would empty the store & require the fire department to check the store before people could go back in.

        If the life of a toddler is potentially in danger and there’s no phone nearby to use then there’s no reason not to pull a nearby fire alarm. The whole purpose of fire alarms is to save lives, and you just might be doing that in this situation.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @IphtashuFitz: I believe pulling a fire alarm when there isn’t a fire is a felony. So.. you would’ve saved the kid and gotten yourself in deep shit.

      • usa_gatekeeper says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: RE, “I believe pulling a fire alarm when there isn’t a fire is a felony…”,

        Maybe it’s time for these ‘fire’ alarms to be renamed “Emergency Alarms” and become more useful?

    • Anonymous says:

      @IphtashuFitz: The problem with pulling the fire alarm like that is that the fire department would have to check and clear the scene of the alarm before they could attend to a different issue.

      That’s not to say that firemen don’t have brains and more than one guy (e.g. ‘Hey, you go check out the kid, I’ll clear the store’). But it is an important distinction to make that the first alarm must be cleared and would take priority.

  15. post_break says:

    If they told me it was my responsibility I probably would have just started throwing merchandise on the floor. I bet they would call the cops at that point.

  16. OMG! Ponies! says:

    The customer should have used his/her cell-phone. And failing that, BB&B shouldn’t have engaged in douchebaggery.

    Someone at Corporate needs to explain to the store manager that, where customer relations are concerned, there is such a thing as bad press.

  17. HalOfBorg says:

    Oh yeh – like I said, I’d have just called 911 myself right off.

  18. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    There are at least 3 issues here..

    Bad parenting.
    Poor employee training.
    The disappearance of pay phones.

    Sure, cell phones are great. But not everyone has them. And 911 operators can find your exact location faster if you’re calling from a landline, whether it be from a pay phone or BBB phone.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @LatherRinseRepeat: The disappearance of pay phones.

      no kidding! & even if you can find one, your odds are 1:100 that it works. once i ditched my car in a snowstorm (in a “dead zone” – so much for cell phones), so i walked 4 miles to the nearest payphone (center of a middle-of-nowhere town). i get there & some jerk had torn the receiver off the unit.

      had to trudge around until i could find a house w/ lights on. not fun.

  19. SkokieGuy says:

    In most (all?) states, it does NOT expose you to any liabilty to call 911 to report a (suspected) crime. Only if you use 911 for knowingly false or malicious use could you ever expose yourself to any liability.

    Obviously the person who asked the store to call didn’t have a cell phone, or they would have used it.

    If the citizen was unable to find an alternate phone and the child died, then BB&B COULD have been liabile, IMHO, for refusing to cooperate, when notified of a potential life-threatening situation.

    To the employee who feels that things beyond their door is not their concern (if you are still employeed), a rapist / murderer / robber is in your parking lot about to enter your store. Would you like notification?

  20. zentex says:

    I now have a good reason to never step foot into a BB&B. If corporate wants to ‘back’ their employees for making the WRONG call, then I can’t see rewarding them with my money so they can make a profit.

  21. savvy999 says:

    I dunno– what’s the law say on my smashing the window in myself and keeping the kid from being boiled alive?

    I’ll be damned if I’m going to wait for BB&B to grow a pair over their phone policy, and/or wait for the police to arrive. In an intense heat, seconds matter.

  22. BubbaJudge says:

    I would hazard a guess that if the customer had said a man in the parking lot was strapping on body armor and loading an assault rifle, 911 would probably have gotten a call.

  23. wellfleet says:

    We had a similar situation involving a puppy in our Best Buy parking lot two months ago. It was at least 90 outside with our deep South summer and a very young puppy was locked in a car without any ventilation. A customer alerted us to it. We contacted animal control but nobody showed up. About an hour later, the DB customer comes in and asks to speak to a manager. I come see him and he’s livid that someone broke his window and took his dog. I still don’t know who rescued the puppy, but I told the guy I had zero sympathy for him, and that his dog could have died in that car. I can’t imagine knowing a situation exists where an innocent can be hurt and doing nothing. Those employees need to have their heads checked!

  24. zarex42 says:

    What the hell were they wasting time calling 911 for? Go smash the damn window, /then/ call 911 to get an ambulance there, just in case. Those five minutes count!

  25. kepler11 says:

    Those store personnel are pretty idiotic, much like the cafe staff who charged firefighters to buy bottled water the morning of 9/11. Sometimes people simply lose sight of the decent thing to do in the face of corporate stupidity.

    But I think it is reasonable for only the person who saw the incident to make the call, not that that is what the morons were technically saying if they told the customer “to make the call.” 2ndhand reports of anything are not usually very useful, or at least not preferred to an actual witness.

    On a side note, I’m curious to know, would it be within a private citizen’s reasonable good samaritan rights/liability to smash the window of a hot car with a child locked in it?

    • ViperBorg says:

      @kepler11: “On a side note, I’m curious to know, would it be within a private citizen’s reasonable good samaritan rights/liability to smash the window of a hot car with a child locked in it?”

      Hell yes.

  26. Sunflower1970 says:

    Could it be that the person who went in to BB&B and asked to use the land line because they were not too sure of the address of the building, and by using a land line the 911 operator would be able to pinpoint the location better than using a cell phone?

  27. SkokieGuy says:

    I actually just remembered a similar incident at Home Depot (warning – HD praise ahead).

    I saw a child in a car seat, in a car with no adult around. I waited a few minutes, to see if the parent was about to return, perhaps loading purchases. When that didn’t happen, I went inside to store security. They paged the mother and store staff went outside and kept the vehicle under constant survelliance (it was warm, but not very hot out and the child did not appear to be in distress). When the woman did not respond to the page (they gave her 5 minutes or so) they contacted the police. The police and the mother arrived at the car at the same time.

    Say what you will, but bravo to HD in this instance. (Evanston, Illinois).

    • nsv says:

      @SkokieGuy: Funny, I worked in a Home Depot in Connecticut and saw an accident in the parking lot. There seemed to be no injuries, but the cars were pretty badly damaged. I asked my manager if I should call the police, and I was told no, what happens in the parking lot is outside of the store and not our problem. We don’t get involved.

      I’m a little slow and had to have this lesson reinforced for me on a night in the middle of a tropical storm when a truck driver came in for a tarp and an extension ladder. His truck had been damaged and he had to cover it so his load wouldn’t get ruined. I helped him out with the ladder (which I was allowed to do) as an excuse to foot the ladder for him while he climbed up in the wind to deploy the tarp.

      After I was written up it was explained to me that if he had been blown off the ladder while he worked alone, that was not Home Depot’s fault, but if it had happened while I was out there helping him they would be sued.

      I tried to point out that if it had happened while he was alone no one would have known, but if it had happened while I was out there I could have called 911 for him. This, to management, was proof of just how stupid I really am. And maybe I am.

      • Speak says:

        @nsv: Heh. I think your former managers must have had to submit to a lobotomy before getting their jobs. If the guy got blown off of a ladder because store employees refused to help him in a weather emergency, I’d have expected a lot of negative publicity. Not to mention it’s just a douchebag thing to do, instructing people not to help others because of the fear of getting sued.

        • nsv says:

          @Speak: Yes, it’s a douchebag thing to do (not exactly how I would have put it, but your version is actually more polite,) but probably no one would have known that Home Depot refused to help him. If he had been blown off the ladder, either it would have killed him or he would have been left there without help for hours, with a good chance that would kill him. It’s hard for local media to interview a dead guy.

          The funny thing is, I never knew if the safety-oriented things I did would get me an award or a disciplinary write-up. It was split about 50/50.

    • Speak says:

      BB&B isn’t even trying with their issued statement. So, the customer asked the store to contact the authorities [911]. The store suggested that the customer contact 911. What??? They’re missing a transition there, i.e., whatever excuse they can dredge up for why the store couldn’t dial 911.

      @SkokieGuy: That’s a remarkable story. I have a hard time imagining some low-paid store employee taking the initiative to patrol a parking lot. I hope HD recognized their employees’ actions.

  28. kepler11 says:

    Well, to debate the legality of that law slightly — I doubt it applies to the case of someone withholding use of their private telephone to call 911. It sounds like the law is designed to make it an offense to interfere with someone who is in the process of making an emergency call.

    What people (especially in positions of management/authority, even minor) should understand, is that in an emergency, where time is of the essence, much can be forgiven/allowed, even by idiotic corporations, and you should do what is humanly decent and necessary to solve a developing situation. You will generally be praised than criticized for acting quickly.

  29. Shadowman615 says:

    Here’s an update. The URL says it all:
    [bluegrassbeat.bloginky.com]

    • @Shadowman615: Haha .. Sounds like the store may be in hot water.

      I love that they may have charges pressed against them for trying to avoid doing something that might get them in legal trouble.

      Yet another example of our fine legal system. There is no right and there is no wrong. You can only fail. Do not pass go do not collect $200.

    • BytheSea says:

      @Shadowman615: Hah!

      “Be assured that, at Bed Bath & Beyond, we take matters such as these very seriously,” said Hank Reinhart, vice president of customer service.

  30. the_wealth says:

    I actually saw a situation like this happening at the local teacher supply store (yes, a teacher of our small children did this…) There was a car parked right out front when I entered with a three month old-ish baby in a car seat in the back. It was about 110 outside and as I walk in, I hear the security guard asking for the owner of the car. He found the woman who actually had the nerve to say “But I’m only in here for like 5 minutes!” as she’s standing in a 10-person line with a cart load of stuff that had to have taken way more than 5 minutes to gather. They ended up calling in the police and charging her right there.

  31. PDX909 says:

    Break the window, grab the kid and provide aid, it’s a no-brainer. I would have done it with a witness present however. There’s no defense for leaving a child in a vehicle unattended whatever the weather. I don’t imagine any cops would side with the person who had left the child.

  32. Charmander says:

    From the follow-up article:

    “It is against company policy to get involved with anything that happens in the company parking lot.”

    Yeah, and if there were a bomb, earthquake or fire situation in in the parking lot??…I guess it would be just business as usual for the employees at BB& Beyond All Reason. They’d just keep on working, minding their own business…..

  33. D2daizon says:

    I think BBB was afraid they’d lose the business of thousands of child abusers across the nation. Rather then a boycott they though this kid could ride take a hit for good ol’ BBB. Or they were, in this case, afraid they’d lose this one sale of purple satin drapes.

  34. macinjosh says:

    The article mentions nothing about the won tons that were endangered. Did they end up burning in the hot car? Were they able to used in a soup or appetizer dish?

    On a more serious note, this is a weird quote: “”Morally, I just can’t believe that you would not call. What if that was your child out there?””

    Obviously, that person wouldn’t care.

  35. Scoobatz says:

    The part I really don’t understand is how does it become store policy not to get involved in responding to potential emergency situations? Are situations like this specifically covered during new employee training sessions? Unless an employee is directed otherwise, common sense would suggest the employee would provide a phone for the customer to call 911 — without having to call 911 themselves.

    On a separate note, kudos to the customers who did get involved and decided not to ignore it. Just last week, a three year old died in Atlantic City for being left alone in a car for 3 hours.

  36. jeebussez says:

    To everyone suggesting that the customer call on his/her cell phone, 911 calls on cell phones usually go to state police (I know in California, they go to Highway Patrol) and is screened for emergency/non-emergency calls before they forward you to the appropriate 911 call center. Calling on a store phone/landline would bypass the screening process and go straight to the local 911 call center and would be MUCH faster and accurate, barring any negligent store employees.

    Personally I would’ve just grabbed the phone and dialed. There are usually several phones throughout a store and 911 connects you right to the outside. Besides, what are they gonna do, grab the phone out of your hand?

  37. Scoobatz says:

    On the flip side, I don’t necessary think it’s (always) a crime to leave your kids in the car for a few minutes while you run into a store to get something quick.

    Here was my situation. Any comments would be appreciated. I have a three year old and a one year old. I drove to our local Wawa (like a 7-11) in order to run in to get cash, a coffee, and a few snacks. Left the kids in the car. However, here are the circumstances. I parked right in front of the store – the car is clearly visible from anywhere inside Wawa. It was about 75-80 degrees outside, but I left the car running and the air conditioning cranked. The kids were shaded by the roof of the car and the CAR WAS LOCKED.

    Round trip, the process of getting in and out of the store took less than 5 minutes. Both kids were in the back of the car ASLEEP and it would have been a major headache to get the double stroller out of the car, wake the kids up, get the kids out of their carseats and buckled into the stroller for such a quick trip. I considered my actions to be appropriate based on my situation — but one of the other customers did not agree and gave me an earful.

    • ARPRINCE says:

      @Scoobatz: Carnapping takes only a few seconds – so there you go!

      • Crymson_77 says:

        @ARPRINCE: And my glock only takes less than a second to take your head off when fired from the doorway. Sure it would wake the kids, but you would have an awful hard time taking them if you are dead. Even without a gun, the person attempting to take my kids would find themselves short a few appendages during the attempt. And yes, I can move pretty damn fast.

        • rellog says:

          @Crymson_77: Gotta love these “cowboys” that think they’re an action hero from some movie. First off, you can’t keep your eye on your car at ALL times. You’re distracted. Second, your aim is highly suspect and you’re firing on a vehicle that contains your two children…. This isn’t “Die Hard” and you ain’t John McClane..

          BTW, from the link… “Lexington Police BUSTED the glass…” Who writes like that? I know they’re hillbillies down there (j/k my Mom’s from KY) but really….

          As for BBB, shame on them, and I’d hope the store received a sizeable fine for such behavior.

          • Crymson_77 says:

            @rellog: Firing at a person standing near a car with “my,your, or their” children in it causes one to be exceptionally accurate with their chosen weapon. Considering you will want to avoid ricochets, you are best aiming at and hitting a spot on the person you are shooting at that is likely to cause the bullet to:
            1) stop in the meaty flesh or ricochet off a bone into other portions of their body, or
            2) bounce off the dense bone structure of the persons brain, thereby scrambling said brain and killing the offender outright.

            One need not be John McClane, one need only have a reason to have good aim.

            • crashfrog says:

              @Crymson_77: I think you’re overestimating how accurate handguns and their users are.

              A study once found that less than 1/8 of the shots taken by police officers in the field, in real combant situations, actually hit their target. And these are trained handgun users, with maintained equipment and hundreds of hours at the firing range.

              And they still can’t hit for shit. Adrenaline or not, you’re far more likely to put a bullet in something you weren’t aiming at, than what you were aiming at.

            • KoW says:

              @Crymson_77: I hope I never live near you, you are a terrifying person. You would rather carry a loaded Glock with you at all times and shoot at someone who is near your car, which you left running with unattended children in it, rather than wake up your children or delay that particular stop? That’s fucking crazy.

              • Crymson_77 says:

                @KoW: Thank you. Someone had to play devil’s advocate…just decided to see how long it took someone to say exactly what you did. Personally? I do not own a gun, and likely never will. Don’t like ‘em, but would never take one out of someone’s hands if they wanted it (barring psychos and the like). I feel that there are very specific circumstances where leaving your child in a running car is acceptable. Losing sight of your car or being further away than it takes to pump gas are two instances in which I would not personally commit to as there are just too many crazies in the world. At the same time, for each of us it is a matter of choice and an acceptance of consequences of that choice we must reconcile.

    • Crymson_77 says:

      @Scoobatz: The other customer was an asshole. It is far better to keep your eyes on your vehicle at all times, with it running, a/c blowing, than to wake up two children just so you can run into a store for 2 minutes. The ONLY time I would agree with the asshat that yelled at you is if your car was not fully visible at all times. I also have 2 children, one very little, and your actions were far less disturbing to the children (and consequently better for their health), than hauling them out just so you can buy a candy bar.

    • floraposte says:

      @Scoobatz: I’m pretty freaked out by kids that young left unattended in a car, period; add in a running engine and I’m thinking “Bad plan.” I totally sympathize with the PITA factor, but I think that’s just a joy of parenting one has to accept.

      More on topic: our BBB is incredibly nice and helpful, and it’s consequently one of my favorite places to shop locally. I have a hard time imagining they’d have done anything like this.

    • cwsterling says:

      @Scoobatz: That kinda happened to me. It was more or less the lady didn’t want to wake the kids and go through all that trouble. Basically I was on break outside in my uniform for the grocery store I work at. A lady with two kids asleep in the back pulls up and asks if I can get her something. I had nothing better to do so I got it for her. The point of the matter is that your situation was a little different, but you still thought it through.

    • Pithlit says:

      @Scoobatz: It’s not worth the risk. Children been kidnapped this way. As a matter of fact, it recently happened at a nearby grocery store. The mother wasn’t even in the store. She was still in the parking lot, and made it back to the car, but the car jacker beat her and drove off with her baby in the car. I remember a heartbreaking case where a woman did just what you did. Kept her eye on the car at a convenience store with the motor running because she was just going to be in there for a minute. Ran back out as she watched someone steal her car. Grabbed her son, but wasn’t able to pull him fully out of the car in time, and he was dragged to his death, right before her eyes.

      They can also crawl around in the car, kick the car into gear and crash. Not worth the risk. I know none of us are perfect as parents, and sometimes we do things that we look back on and realize they might not have been the best decision, so I don’t want to sound judgmental. It’s such a bad idea to leave children unattended like that, so I hope you rethink it before you decide to do it again. It’s tough with small kids, but sometimes we have to schedule our errands around them. I’ve been there.

    • NotATool says:

      @Scoobatz: The biggest thing I’d be worried about is that someone could smash your window and drive off with your kids, while you’re perusing the candy bars. Second to that, I’d worry about the three year old waking up and deciding to try to put the car in gear. I’d also be worried about the air conditioner sucking in exhaust and making the kids breathe it (not lethal, but not exactly desirable either).

      I personally would not be in favor of leaving kids in a running care.

    • savvy999 says:

      @Scoobatz: Wait… if the car was running with the A/C on, and the doors were locked, how did you get back in it?

      Did you take the keys/fob apart, or do you usually carry two separate sets of keys?

      @Pithlit kind of nails the bigger issue– to me it’s not about kidnapping, the risk of which is quite low– it’s about the kids getting out of their seats and popping a running car into gear, etc. Or the car motor/battery/AC failing, and then creating a hot situation inside a closed vehicle.

      Just my opinion, but the safer route would be to turn the car off, parked in plain view, roll all the windows down, and take your keys with you. The bottom line for endangerment is, are the kids safe in that environment? IMO, in that situation, yes they are, if it’s only lasting a couple of minutes.

      • Scoobatz says:

        @savvy999: Wait… if the car was running with the A/C on, and the doors were locked, how did you get back in it?

        Simple. I rolled down the window so I could reach in with my hand to lock the door from the outside. Actually, I used a valet key that I keep on my key chain.

        To everyone else that provided candid feedback on my situation, thank you very much. I asked for it, and I can’t disagree, now looking back. I will add, however, that my situation was a one time event. And, I will admit that I remembered feeling a lot of anxiety even though the whole ordeal took only a couple of minutes and I figured the risk of anything harmful happening was fairly remote. Before your feedback, my wife made it clear a long time ago this wouldn’t happen again!

        Getting back to the OP’s story, I find it interesting that outside of this side discussion, nobody else made any comments about the child’s safety — only his health. I can’t imagine leaving a young kid in a department store parking lot by himself, regardless of the temperature outside.

    • dorastandpipe says:

      @Scoobatz: We have had several instances here in Mpls where parents have left their sleeping child(ren) in a running car and the car was stolen with the child(ren) in it. It is NEVER safe to leave your children alone in a car!!!! If it is not convenient to wake up the kids, skip the darn trip.

    • patchmonkey says:

      @Scoobatz: It’s also a crime to leave your car idling while you’re running into Wawa – at least in NJ. I’m fairly sure there’s a similar law in PA.

      Had a police officer stopped in, he could have cited you both for child endangerment and for a motor vehicle/environmental issue.

    • jimconsumer says:

      @Scoobatz: I’ve no problem with what you did.

      My wife went to a grocery store once. Our 3 year old son was sleeping; his 10 year old sister was with him. Wife didn’t want to wake the little guy so she left the truck running to keep the kids warm (it was winter time) and my daughter – who is legally old enough to babysit – locked the doors behind her.

      My wife wasn’t in the store 5 minutes. She bought 2 or 3 little things. Some bitch called 911 and reported “two infants left alone in a car” … the officer arrived at the vehicle the same time my wife did and threatened to arrest her for child endangerment. So, it’s perfectly legal if we let the 10 year old babysit her little brother for hours on end at home, but it’s illegal if we leave them in a car together for 5 minutes. Apparently, yes, “Because she might try to drive the car.” Uh, no, she won’t. She’s a very well behaved kid and she knows right from wrong.

      The officer decided not to arrest my wife, but did threaten her with such. She was told the reason she was not being arrested was because the officer was upset with the person who gave a false report of “two infants” when that was clearly not the case. Thankfully the officer used good judgment here but the fact that someone would call 911 and that there is actually a law that calls this child endangerment is bullshit.

      I, however, would never – ever – leave a young child by himself, no matter the circumstances, not in a car nor a house nor anywhere else. That’s just my position, but I don’t think you (Scoobatz) were necessarily wrong to go into a gas station within sight of the running car with sleeping children. If the car is within view of your eyes at all times, I can’t see a problem there. Doesn’t seem any different to me from pumping gas, or getting out to get the mail, etc. No need to get children out for that!

  38. gorckat says:

    Standing at the checkout line and announcing to all the shoppers, “A toddler is trapped in a vehicle and the store won’t let you call 911- can I borrow someone’s cell real quick?” would have been real good.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @gorckat: Agreed! I was wondering that myself? You mean no one had a cell phone?

      I agree also that 911 should be available to anyone. And by BB&B acknowledging the parking lot is the company parking lot, they’re acknowledging that it’s their property, no? Wouldn’t they be liable for something happening on their property (I know, it’s all leased).

      And what if it was someone’s grandmother having medical problems and they happen to be in the parking lot? If someone had come into BB&B asking for the phone, they would have said no? Shame.

      It’s also ridiculous that BB&B to spin this in a way to suggest that the customer was at fault.

  39. mbz32190 says:

    Parenting techniques aside, this is an emergency, therefore you expect a store to let you use a phone. It could be a puppy in a car, an injured person in the parking lot, etc. Even if this BBB is part of a large shopping center with other stores, who doesn’t have enough common sense to let someone use a phone for a person in distress? Sickening. Not like I shop at this store anyway (you can get the same stuff at Target for a lot less even without a daily 20% coupon), but I’ll make sure to stay away in the future.

  40. lol_wut says:

    Calls to 911 are free, and can even be made from wireless phones not yet activated on a wireless network. Try it, take an old phone and call customer service – or 611. If the phone was ever tied to the number you are currently using, make sure the current phone is powered off.

    If the area was a dead coverage zone, I can see where the witness would not want to try using their phone to call out to 911. BB&B should be ashamed, from the bottom up, that employees which are wholly representative of the company refused to allow people to call 911 from their store.

    BB&B should have simply stated it was an outrageous, but isolated incident and that they were looking into it. Issue an apology to the witness(es) that tried to do the right thing but were stone-walled by a bunch of retards. Then, fire those employees and replace them with more competent help.

  41. sassbrown74 says:

    Idiots working on the front line in low-paying jobs relying on “company policy” over common sense: This I am used to. But the BBB response is pathetic. They should have said something like “While we do have a policy of X,Y,Z, in this particular instance the store should have allowed the bystander to call 911. We regret that this incident occurred and will take immediate steps to ensure that we do better in the future.”

  42. Suttin says:

    I would have asked for the phone.

    If they said no, I would have walked over to a register that no one was at, and picked up the phone myself.

    Even if I did get barred from every BB&B store, I wouldn’t have gone back after hearing that.

  43. I’ve been to this BB&B many times, but I won’t be going again. I know for a fact there is no pay phone in this shopping center. I’m assuming they didn’t have a cell phone if they went inside to use the store phone. I’m also assuming that they succeeded in either contacting another passerby with a phone or going into another store in the strip mall. A third person, a Ms. Bowe, is mentioned – maybe she had a phone. Anyway, bollocks to BB&B. They have always had dumb policies, but this one takes the cake. I’m really embarrassed that someone in my town was this stupid.

  44. lodigr says:

    That’s right, BBB. Make lemonade out of those almost-dead-baby lemons!

  45. mike says:

    This is a toughie…

    It’s obvious here that the person that the OP was dealing with is a horrible person. But the reason this is a toughie is that sometimes, things are not what they seem.

    With our high levels of frivilous law suits, most people choose not to get involved because of the legal ramifications. For example, what if the toddler fell ill after he was rescued?

    911 should always be available to anyone, regardless of situation. BB&B should have offered that. But somewhere, they have to protect themselves. I’ll be honest and say I don’t know where that point may be but it’s probably somewhere many of us would still complain.

    • rellog says:

      @linus: That’s a cop-out. Frivilous lawsuits are buzz terms used by certain politicians to pass unfriendly to consumer legislation, or to justify poor corporate behavior.

  46. andy966 says:

    Linus,
    I definitely understand that businesses want to protect themselves. But in this particular case, they would have been protected under the Good Samaritan laws. And let’s really be human here, even if the parent was to sue BB&B, so be it, what judge or jury in their right mind would find them guilty of anything but trying to help. (but then again, this is the country where OJ is not guilty right?)
    In any case DO THA WIGHT FING!!!!

    • mike says:

      @andy966: Part of the issue is the cost of defending the case. It really is a no-win situation for BB&B. Even the threat of a lawsuit makes most companies pull back.

  47. Mr. Guy says:

    this is now the #1 story on google news if you look up bed bath and beyond.

  48. zentex says:

    Anyone feel like giving corporate a good talking-to?

    650 Liberty Avenue
    Union, New Jersey 07083
    908-688-0888

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      @zentex: Let’s not organize anything like this in comments, please. If people want to contact the company of their own accord, that’s fine, but we don’t need to be organizing a campaign here in the comment thread. Thanks.

  49. bagumpity says:

    GOOD LORD!!! I don’t know who was dumber, the store clerks or the customer. You see a kid in a locked car with rolled-up windows in summer. You don’t know how long the kid has been in there.

    Do you:
    a) Discuss things rationally, come to a consensus, and take action?
    b) Run into a store and (assuming they’ll let you) call the authorities and hope they get there within, oh fifteen or twenty minutes?
    c) Find a brick?

    Correct answer: You find the brick. Then you smash the window. If no brick is available you sacrifice the bones in your hand/elbow/whatever. Then you make sure the kid is OK. Everything else is action after the fact.

    • mike says:

      @bagumpity: You win the internet.

    • ViperBorg says:

      @bagumpity: Exactly, sir! Break the frackin window and get that kid in some A/C… or at least out of that damn car. And hydrate the kid, call 911, find mom, detain her, etc, etc, etc…

    • rellog says:

      @bagumpity: Have you ever tried to break a car window? I don’t know the physical condition of the person from the story, but most people couldn’t break a window without some heavy object, and even then it may be a challenge.

      • este says:

        @rellog:

        Um…. have YOU ever tried to break a car window !? All side windows are tempered glass, they shatter into a billion peices at even a moderate impact. A 10 year old can shatter a side window with a kick.

        The best is to use a spring loaded transfer punch… fun stuff.

  50. Sugarless says:

    I can’t imagine not allowing a customer to call 911 since the employee didn’t feel comfortable calling.
    I’m starting to think that child belonged to one of the employees.

  51. Similar incident at a mall. The wife and her friend saw a child in a car and went into the nearest store to ask the manager to make the call. The manager returned to the parking lot, confirmed the problem and made the call to 911.

    Why wait until the manager had seen the child in distress to make the call? Because the store is liable for filing false emergency calls and can be billed for the cost of the response.

  52. donovanr says:

    Actually what the person should have done is to grab the phone and dial 911. In most places it is a crime to interfere with someone calling 911. Then make sure that your call to 911 is nice and long which should ensure that some dolt from this store takes the phone from you. Narrate the experience to make sure that it is all recorded on 911.
    “Please don’t grab the phone from me MIKE the BBB manager with red hair. I am trying to save the child. Do you want the poor thing to die? [click]” would be one of the best 911 calls ever played on the evening news.

  53. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    Skimming past all comments.

    Is the the human in immediate harm?
    Will the person suffer(immediate) harm if emergency services are not rendered?
    Is this life or death?

    Then… LET THEM ACCESS 911 services.

    Otherwise there is other phones about.

    I am far from not letting someone using my phone. But if they say it is critical for emergency. It better very well be. Otherwise find another phone.

  54. mariospants says:

    DAMN, this takes corporate ass-hattery to a new level. BB&B, do you honestly believe that your PR bullshit isn’t completely transparent? Up until the PR quote, I was willing to go with “just (a) stupid ass BB&B employee/employees” but now that they’ve put their foot into their stupid mouths, I’ll have to expand that to the BB&B company as a whole.

  55. Iskra says:

    I was robbed at a Home Depot and they refused to call and help me as well.
    You would think having a gun held to your head in a parking lot would warrant the use of your phone but no.
    I refuse to shop there anymore.
    They informed me that the parking lot is public property.
    I am sure if I felt like hanging Lowe’s signs in the lot, they would think otherwise.

  56. cerbie says:

    If the kid dies, the mother is on the hook.

    If you use the phone to screw with somebody, that employee is on the hook.

    Where is the incentive to help?

  57. Canino says:

    I don’t want to sound like I’m blaming the OP here, but why don’t people ever take action on their own? You could get your own tire iron out of your car and break the window yourself in about 30 seconds, then worry about calling 911. Most state good Samaritan laws would cover you in case of any legal troubles.

    “Authorities” do not replace common sense and good judgement.

  58. 54r93 says:

    smart move guys, i mean what’s better for business than a baby dying in your parking lot?

  59. closed_account says:

    In Cincinnati it is legal to lock your kids in a car and murder them as long as you are affiliated with a school. More here: [chadsblog.com]

  60. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’m seeing a lot of comments about how the customer should have taken initiative and gotten the baby out. I get that is something a lot of people would actually do…but since when does spotting a baby in a car and calling police translate into a dire emergency requiring smashing of windows? The customer was expecting to be able to reach police. Just because the BB&B employee was insane to not let the customer use the phone, doesn’t mean she should have smashed the window. There’s reaction and then there’s overreaction. Most people don’t want to get involved in such a way because it could open up a whole can of worms for legal trouble and personal trouble. Who knows what kinds of people leave their kids in the car? We see now that the mother was arrested and held. Who’s going to pay for the car damage? Certainly the mother isn’t the pinnacle of human intelligence.

    • Canino says:

      @IHaveAFreezeRay: There was another article online I found with a little more detail. It said the child could be seen profusely sweating, wearing a long sleeve shirt, was partially covered with a blanket, the child did not wake up when they knocked on the windows, and it could not be determined whether the child was breathing. I had that information before posting which is why I said people should take action on their own. Without that extra information you would think, as you stated, that the situation might not call for smashing of windows. With that info, I’m sure you would agree action was probably immediately necessary.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Canino: In that case, action would be warranted, protected, and understood.

        It still doesn’t mean that most people would break a window. If they do, I hope they have the foresight to break the driver’s side window to unlock the car, rather than break the window near the baby.

  61. Darnitol says:

    @Scoobatz: I’ve got 7-year old twins, so I went through the mental wrangling of making the “do I wake them” decision many times. So to be clear, I’m not scolding here–you asked for advice, and that’s what I’m giving.

    Before I became a parent, I watched a close friend lose her children to foster care for 18 months over an incident no worse than what you did at the Wawa. By the time I became a parent myself, I had decided to follow the rule of thumb she created for herself after she finally got her children back: If you wouldn’t do it while a police officer is standing beside you, don’t do it at all.

    Have I followed that rule perfectly? No. Twice I’ve found myself mid-action and realizing, “oh my God, what I’m doing is a risk to my children,” and left myself wondering for months afterward how I ever got to the point where I had made the stupid decision in the first place. But the fact is, I made those two stupid decisions. Like you, I got lucky and my children weren’t harmed, or even aware that they were at risk. But it doesn’t change the fact that my actions were stupid.

    And your actions were stupid too.

    But I’m not saying that to insult you. It’s only through recognizing our own faults that we learn from them. I’ll make other parenting mistakes in the future, I’m certain. But hopefully, by acknowledging my own failings and learning from them, I won’t make the same mistakes twice. I try hard never to let my pride be the factor that leads to putting my own children in harm’s way. One of the ways I (and you) can do that is to just go ahead and admit internally that yeah, that was a stupid thing to do.

    I hope you understand that I don’t mean to hurt your feelings here. But whether it hurts or not, I hope you become a better parent by hearing it. None of us will ever be perfect parents, so let’s help each other at least be better ones, a little each day.

    Best regards,
    Darnitol

  62. Ninjanice says:

    I don’t think it’s wrong to not want to call 911 because someone comes in and says there is an emergency. If you call 911 and there is no emergency, the person who called 911 can get in trouble, and there are many cities that are cracking down on 911 false alarm calls. What is wrong is that BB&B could have let the the person call 911 from their phone, and consequently take any of the blame for fraudulently calling 911 (if that was a concern on the part of BB&B).
    I used to work in a gas station and had a woman come in running and screaming to “call 911! There’s a handicapped guy across the street who’s going to get run over! Call 911! Call 911, you twit! Call 911!”. I looked across the street and there was a handicapped gentleman getting into his car, which was parked on an incline. He was doing just fine getting into his car. I said “I’m not calling 911 for a non-emergency. You can call them from my phone. Or even better yet, why don’t you go across the street and help him if you’re so concerned. I’m sure you’d get there quicker than the police/EMS/Fire Dept or whoever 911 sends would.” I looked over again and the guy had managed to already get into his car and was pulling his wheelchair in. So, apparently it was not an emergency and had I called in, I could have gotten myself in trouble for a false alarm.

  63. BytheSea says:

    BTW, I’m not excusing anyone, but you all seem curious about the store policy, so here’s where it comes from:

    In normal situations, the employees are instructed that it’s not their job to do anything outside the store’s physical plant. You don’t shovel walks, or clean up trash, or help someone jump start their car. It’s a safety issue and also a scheduling concern – they want their employees safely working where the job needs to get done, and within the walls that the insurance covers and the employees are trained to work. So, that’s what the asst manager was going on.

    But no, every crap job I’ve worked at, you were allowed to call 911 if there was an emergency in the parking lot. You just don’t go out there and handle anything yourself. Those stories you hear about workers fishing ducklings out of sewer grates? The workers probably got in trouble, you just didn’t hear about it.

  64. 23221 says:

    The fact that the sales personnel said “you cannot call no one” tells me that in all likelihood they come from the demographic that would be apt to lock their toddlers in overheated cars themselves, thus no one here should be overly surprised at their reaction, n’est ce pas?

    • spanky says:

      @23221:

      Certain dialects of English do use the double negative for emphasis.

      I really hope you aren’t implying that people who speak certain dialects are more liable to leave their children in hot cars.

  65. Tigerman_McCool says:

    Did someone that gets paid for making BBB statements write that? I hope not. “We are pleased in the manner that our employee’s manners, was mannerized, and that the manner was resolved in a timely manner”

  66. Impius says:

    W…T…F…?

    (sorry nothing more clever than that at the moment…)

  67. Something similar to this happened where I work. A bruised and bloodied woman came running into our lobby and asked the receptionist to call the police because her deranged ex-husband is chasing her and thumping on her. Our receptionist politely declined, stating that she didn’t want to get involved. What the f*ck is that? Are we really becoming that callous as a society?

    Oh, and I work for a school district. Yah, we really care about our people here.

  68. glycolized says:

    Those store personnel are pretty idiotic, much like the cafe staff who charged firefighters to buy bottled water the morning of 9/11…

    Yeah, it’s just like that. GTFO.

  69. Cliff_Donner says:

    Smashing the window introduces the possibility of the child being injured by flying glass or possibly the brick itself (or whatever) if you lose control of it. Even assuming the car’s windows are safety glass, this seems like a fairly risky gambit. If it’s possible to get a police officer or other professional to the scene within a few minutes, I think I’d opt for that route.

  70. Wynner3 says:

    I hate people who won’t break rules in a time of need.

  71. skipf102 says:

    BB&B should thank their lucky stars there are no lawyers present.

  72. skipf102 says:

    One morning I was putting my shoes on getting ready for work when I heard a load “crump crump” I looked out my window and saw some guy standing on the hood of a tow truck beating the windsheild out.I called 911 and was told this is not an emergency. 10 minutes later 3 guys, 1 was the guy beating the windsheld, were beating the gas station attendant up and had dragged him into the street., at that time I recalled 911 and was told they would send someone right away. The police never showed up and the owner of the gas station came to my duplex that evening and wanted to know why the police we’nt called. All I could say is the PD doesn’t really care.

  73. yevarechecha says:

    Back in high school, my brother and a friend were in the parking lot of a Safeway when they witnessed an older man fall off a curb and smash his head on the cement. Needless to say, he was unconscious and bleeding everywhere. They were the only ones nearby, so they moved him out of the road and my brother ran inside the store to ask an employee to call 911 while his friend stayed with the injured man. The employees had no problem with it and immediately summoned an ambulance for the guy. Why is it that some stores seem to act with human decency and others just can’t be bothered? Shame on BB&B.

    That being said, I don’t know if one should head straight to window-smashing in this case unless it is very hot outside and/or the child is in visible distress. Forcefully breaking through a pane of glass could hurt both you and the child. I certainly wouldn’t condemn anyone who looked for an alternate course first.

  74. nyaz says:

    At least they didn’t say they take it very seriously?

    • dragonfire81 says:

      @nyaz: Actually one of the corporate responses did!

      Here’s my question: I know BB&B was being sucky, but did NO ONE present at the time have a cell phone capable of dialing 911? Why the dire need to use the store’s phone?

  75. tandarat says:

    I don’t know what it is like in KY, but here in California, you can be on hold for 20 minutes or more when calling 911 on a cell. THAT gets you onto the CHP dispatch, which then has to transfer you to local dispatch. Sometimes you end up with the wrong dispatch (not always the dispatcher’s fault, esp. if it is a small town). That is enough time to kill a small child in severe heat.

    Out here, it is MUCH quicker to call from landline, and, as some have mentioned, it is easier to locate the caller’s address on landline. Just a thought.

  76. AgentTuttle says:

    Blood Bath and Beyond

  77. devilsh says:

    Ok, feedback I received from BB&B clarifies the training opp:
    “Thank you for contacting us regarding the recent incident in the parking lot outside of our Lexington, Kentucky store. Please be assured that we take matters such as these very seriously. We train our associates for emergency situations. Unfortunately, this situation was not handled the way we would have expected it to be handled. We will take this opportunity to re-train our associates.” FYI.

  78. photoartist says:

    What I don’t understand is, doesn’t Kentucky have any Samaritan laws? By refusing to call the police and the child had died, would they not hold some part in the death of that child by willingly refusing to help?

    Any company large or small has a responsibility to the community they do business in. I would hope the local chamber of commerce or city council would have something to say to the boneheaded management of that store.

    Wasn’t there a recent story about a drug store chain where an elderly woman collapsed from a diabetic seizure in their store then the manager had the audacity to charge the customers who came to her aid for the supplies they needed to save her life?

    Corporate retail America sucks.

  79. fisherstudios says:

    How did the woman wanting to make the phone call know that the baby was not cool and doing well inside the car? Don’t most cars have air conditioning?

  80. Mysterry says:

    … The statement that BB&B made didn’t make sense at all. Didn’t the employee NOT let the customer call 911? I find that not allowing someone to use the phone for an emergency is appalling.

  81. net_addict says:

    The BB&B statement contradicts with the one described in the below story:
    [www.kentucky.com]

  82. Micromegas says:

    Unless BBB was responsible for creating the emergency, they’re under no legal duty to help. It’s probably best for them not to get involved and put themselves at risk for some kind of crazy litigation anyway.

  83. vastrightwing says:

    For the person who asked about leaving their children in the car for a few seconds: if you manage to leave the children in the car, do your quick shopping and get back before anyone notices, I say, no harm no foul. But you do take the risk of someone taking action before you manage to get back. Go ahead, you’re the one responsible. Just don’t blame someone for calling the cops on you if you don’t get back first.

  84. Jevia says:

    I agree that its a hard decision to have to wake kids to do errands. Many many times I’ve forgone coffee and snacks because my kids were asleep and I didn’t want to wake them to get them out of the car to run into the store. Or, I look for drive-thru places. I swear drive-thrus must have been invented by a mother of young kids, they are such a convenience when you have sleeping kids. Hear that Starbucks in PA, you could get more of my business if you had more drive-thrus.

  85. in2insight says:

    Why not just send all these comments to their PR department?
    public.relations@bedbath.com

  86. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I remember reading something a while back on CNN that said that the number of incidents of children being left in cars went up after they started telling parents they had to put baby seats in the back seat and should face backwards. It’s a shame that baby and child seats can’t have some kind of alarm that goes off if the car is shut off with the seat still in it or something.

    BB&B’s response to this defies all sane and rational thought. In what bizarro universe does a business say that they’re pleased with an employee refusing to let someone call 911?

    @All “Why ask for the BB&B phone”: Doesn’t it make more sense to ask for a phone you know for sure exists than to ask a bunch of random people hoping they’ll have a cell phone? I would think (at least before reading this I would have) that if anyone is going to have a phone and let you use it in an emergency it’d be the store.

    @All “Who/how did the 911 call get made?” According to the video the couple who asked BB&B for help “ran back to their car to find a cell phone”. I’m guessing that they were closer to the store than their own car when they say the one with the kid in it.

    • econobiker says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: That is an acute observation:

      “I remember reading something a while back on CNN that said that the number of incidents of children being left in cars went up after they started telling parents they had to put baby seats in the back seat and should face backwards.”

      we have eliminated one failure mode – unrestained children killed in car crashes – which has resulted in a new unintended failure mode- children dying in car seats in locked vehicles.

      And no, children shouldn’t be left in running vehicles as they can move around and put the car in gear. While not as easy now with brake pedal/shifter interlock, it is still possible. while I was living in Chattanooga 10 years ago an incident happended. A baby sitter left 4 year old and 2 year old in her minivan in front of a grocery store. When she came out, van is gone. Cops called, local newsradio broadcasts alert (pre-Amber alert)everyone freaking out hunting for van. About 2 hours after the report, TV news people were on scene doing recording for evening news. One TV sound man gets to looking at the scene and walks across the parking lot to overgrown,wooded gully. He finds the van dhidden down in the gully with the children a little bumped up but ok! With the parking lot covered with cops, no one thought to have investigated the gully. Turns out the 4 year old had gotten into the drivers seat and put the older minivan in gear. No one even saw the van drive into the gully even at a busy food store parking lot- probably one of those lulls in business traffic.

  87. Brunette Bookworm says:

    BB&B is crazy in this instance. If someone approached me and said a kid was locked in a car, I would call 911 without hesitation.

    Also, leaving your kids in a car while it’s running and the keys are in it? Bad idea, I worked with someone who had gotten arrested for stealing cars. They way they did it was to watch people at gas stations and wait for them to leave their keys in the car, then they would take to car. This was in a small town with little crime, too.

  88. Sidecutter says:

    I live in Louisville, about an hour and a half away, and this made our news this morning. Turns out, the local prosecutor in Lexington is working to determine if they need to charge the store or any employees of it for refusing assistance. So yes, it is illegal to refuse to allow emergency calls here in kentucky, apparantly.

  89. SabyneWired says:

    On reading the other blog, what baffles me is the mother’s response. She thought she left the car running with the A/C on? Lady, unless your keys are featherweights or your car is silent as death, I think you would know if you’ve shut your car off or not. My car runs pretty quiet, but it isn’t so quiet that I can’t tell the difference between the motor running and being shut off. Nice try.

    And that BB&B is staffed by incompetent tools. Way to nearly kill someone.

  90. A store employee refused to let someone who claimed there was an emergency call 911. Talk all the legalese you want, rationalize all you want, but that’s just bad BEING HUMAN, period.

    The fact that BB&B corporate backed up their employee who was being a horrid human being? Is reprehensible. I kind of wish I ever shopped there so I could stop.

    Oh well. There’s six grandmas in my family, and I guarantee none of them will ever set foot in this store again once I tell them about this…that’s something.

  91. 23221 says:

    spanky at 06:47 PM on 09/08/08:

    Yes, spanky, I really am implying in some instances just that.

    No “dialect” uses the double negative in English as correct standard usage. And if you can name a foreign dialect that does, I’d be interested to hear of it.

    • spanky says:

      @23221: Why did you put scare quotes around dialect? Do you not believe in dialects or something?

      Rather than typing a bunch of stuff that you won’t read or understand, I’ll just point you to the Wikipedia page on double negatives, which can provide you with many examples of double negatives in use in both English dialects and other languages.

  92. spanky says:

    The insurance industry propaganda has really gotten out of hand when so many people here actually seem to think that a store would be successfully sued just for calling 911.

  93. enorton80 says:

    This story made me insanely angry ~ not only will I, and those who I forwarded this article to, be boycotting Bed Bath & Beyond ~ I fully encourage others to do the same! Let their training opportunity be that is there is an emergency, in their parking lot (or the vicinity thereof), they should get involved!!
    The fact that there was an immediate danger to a child (charges were filed against the mother, which implies that there was a criminal act in progress) and the fact the employee didn’t see this as reason enough to dial 911 not only speaks volumes about the types of people employed at Bed Bath & Beyond, but also speaks volumes as to the company’s corporate PR bullshit gone entirely too far!!
    NO MORE BB&B for me ~ k thanx!!

  94. jaradsmommy says:

    Well have you noticed when Bed Bath and Beyond get in trouble they never accept any kind of responsibility. Unbelievable I won’t be shopping there again and the reason being all they seemed to care about is keeping that lady in that store and making a sale. They told the couple to call 911 but they didn’t let them use their phone. I mean come on. Sickening. And to the lady that said people in lexington don’t have cell phones??? No they’re many older people that don’t have cell phones. And I don’t carry mine at all times either. She must work there…anyways shes not worth wasting my time on. I’m glad the ladys’ window was broken, I hope she gets some major jail time to teach people yes it is a pain to get your child out of the car but you know what you are a parent DEAL WITH IT

  95. ambrooks16 says:

    If it really was that hot out, then smash the window yourself. Or if it was an emergency, just start shouting for a cell phone to call 911. This sure didn’t sound like an emergency though.

    When I was little (about 20 years ago), there was no issue with my parents leaving me in a car for a couple minutes while they went inside the store to pay for gas or something. No big deal. Granted, I was old enough to unlock my own dang door and open it if I was about to die of heat exhaustion.

    Apparently times have changed.

  96. RedwoodFlyer says:

    I got charged with Wanton endangerment once…remind me never to go to a Chinese Buffet when Sally Struthers is in the same zip code.

  97. 23221 says:

    spanky at 12:50 PM

    Spanky, give it a rest. Double negatives do not count as correct English usage. Period.

    And, no, I don’t count Ebonics as a dialect or a “dialect”.

  98. ColoradoMan27 says:

    I wrote to BB&B and actually got a personal response…

    Mr. [Removed]:

    First of all, I want you to know that I understand and appreciate your position. We are ashamed at how the situation was handled.

    The most recent statement that we issued yesterday indicated that this situation was not handled the way we would have expected it to be handled. We have no policies that should have impeded our ability to respond in this case. And yes, we are using this unfortunate occurrence as an opportunity to re-train our associates nationwide. Like you, we do not want anything like this to happen again.

    I hope that you’ll understand that I cannot comment on personnel issues.

    Thanks for your feedback and I hope that, in light of this, you’ll reconsider. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

    [Removed]
    Vice President, Customer Service
    Bed Bath & Beyond

  99. tvjames says:

    @scoobatz – NEVER acceptable! This is a great way to get your car stolen and your children kidnapped by someone who may not have even known they were in the car. I don’t believe a police officer would find this acceptable and as a parent, I’m shocked you would even consider it. Wake the kids up, carry them into the store with you, ask someone else going into the store to get the candy bar for you or go without your precious snacks until such time as you can get them into the store with you with less hassle. (Does your state not have drive-through Starbucks or drive-through ATMs?) Like someone else said, yeah, this is a PITA, but this is something you agreed to when you had children.

  100. in2insight says:

    Sent an email, got this, better, response:

    First of all, I want you to know that I understand and appreciate your position. We are ashamed at how the situation was handled.

    The statement that we issued yesterday indicated that this situation was not handled the way we would have expected it to be handled. We have no policies that should have impeded our ability to respond in this case. And yes, we are using this unfortunate occurrence as an opportunity to re-train our associates nationwide. Like you, we do not want anything like this to happen again.

    I understand your response but I hope that, in light of this, you’ll reconsider. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Hank Reinhart
    Vice President, Customer Service
    Bed Bath & Beyond “

  101. GiuliettaAstraeus says:

    New article on this in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The store manager has
    been charged by police.

    By Beth Musgrave

    bmusgrave@herald-leader.com

    Police have charged a Bed, Bath & Beyond manager who refused to help a
    Danville couple trying to contact police after discovering a child locked in
    a hot van on Saturday.

    Lexington police Officer Tommy Puckett said Thursday that Elizabeth A.
    Miller, 34, of Richmond is charged with duty to report dependency, neglect
    and abuse, a Class B misdemeanor which carries a maximum $1,000 fine.

    Randy and Nancy Belcher were at the Bed, Bath & Beyond off of Nicholasville
    Road on Saturday when Nancy Belcher noticed that there was a boy in the van
    parked next to their vehicle. The boy did not respond to repeated knocks on
    the van’s windows.

    Randy and Nancy Belcher then went into the housewares store and were
    eventually referred to Miller, who told the Belchers that it was against
    store policy to get involved with anything happening in the store’s parking
    lot. The Belchers said Miller would not let them use the phone or make an
    announcement over the store’s public address system to alert the mother or
    parent that the child was in distress.

    Eventually, police were called and they were able to remove Ryan Patel, 3,
    from the van. He was treated at the scene for dehydration. His mother,
    Tanuja Patel, was arraigned on Monday and pleaded not guilty to first-degree
    wanton endangerment.

    Patel’s lawyer has said the mother thought the car was running when she left
    the toddler in the car.

    A spokesman for Bed, Bath & Beyond told the Herald-Leader on Monday that
    there was no store policy that would have prevented Miller from calling
    police and said they were disappointed that the situation was not handled
    properly.

  102. Andrea K Lykins says:

    How hard is it to get your cell phone out and call 911 yourself? When the customer was asked this, they replied that their cell phone was in the car..uh, weren’t you just out in the parking lot looking at the poor child?

  103. emailjdr says:

    Not a big surprise. Managers are well paid but receive little training and some have ZERO common sense. Big company, treats customers remarkably well and employees like trash. Managers are under stress to perform despite a goal that is never reached. I feel for this child and hope that the mother has therapy and rehabilitation as well as behavioral correction for these actions. The company will respond in this arrogant way as they DO NOT CARE. They are firing management across the board to make room for new management willing to be their zombies for less money. Hours are 55 per week on avg sometimes 60. they are abusive in the way they treat employees and are currently under investigation by the U.S. Equal employment Opportunity Commission for discrimination and retaliation.

  104. jensmom says:

    I’ve never had a experience like this with BBB, but I remember an incident many years ago at McDonald’s. I was eight months’ pregnant and my car broke down at the drive-through window. Two men very kindly got out of their cars behind me and pushed my car to a nearby parking space. I went inside and asked to use the phone (there were no cell phones then). I was told, very rudely, that customers were not allowed to use the phone. I explained the situation and said I only needed to call my husband and it was a local number. I even offered to pay. The answer was still no. At that point, I was almost in tears. I left and walked several blocks until I found a pay phone. My husband and mother in law were furious; both of them called McDonald’s. The manager claimed he had offered to make the call FOR me but I had “flounced” out of the store. Point A, he did not make any such offer, and Point B, heavily pregnant women do not flounce. Think we had any of our child’s birthday parties at Mickey D.’s? H*** no!