October 22, 2009

Adventures in (a Philadelphia Burger King) Playland

On Monday, someone stole my son's sneakers from the shoe bin at the indoor playground at Burger King. Kellen was understandably confused and upset. I told him that whoever took the shoes probably needed them more than he did. This confused my son even more since the shoes were not new and had giant "K's" written all over the sides in black marker.

Last Monday at the same Burger King (I get around), I was standing in line when I noticed a man standing by the door. He looked hungry so when it was my turn to order, I offered to buy the man some lunch. He declined and said that he wasn't hungry. Twenty minutes later, the man hunted me down in the indoor playground and asked me for money. I told him that I would be happy to buy him some food, but that I wasn't going to give him cash. The man mumbled something under his breath and stormed out.

The Monday before that, at a different Burger King, my kids were eating lunch when a little boy about age five approached the table and picked a french fry off my son's plate and ran away. To our total surprise, a few minutes later, he did it again. This time, I followed the boy and found him hiding underneath a table in the far corner of the restaurant. When the boy approached the table for the third time, I cut him off at the pass and told him to pull up a chair.

All of this would be very funny....if it wasn't so terribly sad.

We are all very fortunate indeed.

36 comments

The Girl Down the Road said...

That's really sad about the little boy. Where were his parents?

Karen said...

Life just isn't fair, is it? It makes you thankful for all that you have.

Scrapingirl said...

WOW!! This world never ceases to amaze me. How sad all around.

christine said...

I don't think it's just Philadelphia. There are hard times all around these days.
I feel very blessed in that my husband simply has a job.

Christa said...

It amazes me that people in general don't realize how many homeless children there are. It makes me hug my children alittle longer and harder at night when I realize just how lucky we are.

Lindy said...

I drive by a food bank every day to get to work and every day I'm thankful that I have a job to go.

Good for you for setting a good example for your kids!

HW said...

First off, you really are setting a good example for your kids.

Second, we've accidentally stolen shoes from a McDonald's play land. We stopped on the way to our vacation spot and when MY HUSBAND was getting the kids shoes to put them in the car after they played, he grabbed the wrong sandals for our daughter. I didn't realize this until we got to our little hotel 3 hours later and got our daughter out of her carseat. And then I screamed "these aren't her shoes!" We called the McDonald's to confess and they said that unfortunately the other parents were quite upset about the accidental thievery. But they got the better end of the deal - they got my Daughter's Stride Rites and we got their daughter's, well, NOT Stride Rites. So on behalf of all accidental thieves everywhere (my husband) we are really sorry.

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

At first I was mad reading your post, then I realized that you are right. Those people (and most people nowadays) just need some help. Unfortunately they go about it the wrong way. I just worry that with noone telling that little boy that "stealing" fries is wrong, and he will grow up thinking he can take whatever he wants. Thats scary too.

Misty said...

We are very fortunate.
Hopefully your post will inspire others to get out and do something to help the less fortunate. They are all around us...just need to look around.

12ontheinside said...

That is sad. I wonder if I would think to invite him to pull up a chair, or if I would assume he was being a little pain in the butt. You made me think - thanks.
Here from a link on Poop and Boogies.

Angie said...

exactly

MamaOtwins+1 said...

Times are tough right now - we are personally in the midst of it (although we haven't resorted to stealing).
I would have done the exact same things you did - I will not give away money - but I will give away food. And you did a great job attempting to explain it to your child.
My children don't understand why Daddy isn't working right now, or why we don't have the money to go to McDonald's as often as we did, but they do understand giving and we make sure and support every food drive the school does, even if we only send in 2 cans from Aldi's.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

After commenting, I read all the other comments and it looks like people want to help others but don't know what to do - I wonder if we could brainstorm a way for bloggers to do something together to help our communities around the world....

(wow what a run on)

Too Many Hats said...

Good for you for inviting the little boy to join you. Where were his parents?

Emz said...

I see McDonald's in your future!!!
;) can't wait for those stories!!!

WriterGrrl said...

Dude, my kid steals food from people ALL THE TIME, and it's not cause we're starving, thank God. And my kid looks pretty normal, so as long as he didn't talk, you'd just think, "Why is that 10-year-old TAKING MY FOOD?" And then you'd see me in my "Yelling is for parents, talking is for therapists" t-shirt, and I'd either overshare ("Sorry, he's only 5, he has a syndrome, the neurologist says, blah blah" or just yank him away.... yeah. It isn't pretty.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

You really run in some high-class dining circles. :) Just kidding, of course. Sigh. It IS sad. I need to start watching very carefully for simple ways that I can help those who seem to be struggling.

And one time, I went to a party where everyone took of their shoes at the door, and *I* wore someone elses shoes home. I didn't even realize it until the party hostess called me an hour or so later when a befuddled guest was left with only one pair of shoes that were obviously not hers. So maybe Kellen's thief was really just a careless idiot. It happens.

Janille said...

Some of you may be interested in this project/film for benefit of the homeless.

http://www.heartofthestreetsfilm.com/

Meeko Fabulous said...

OMG! I've totally had bums tell me to eff off when I've offered to buy them food! WTF?!?!?!

Kamity said...

It's interesting that you posted this today ... Yesterday, I stopped by Wendy's on my way to the bus stop and scarfed down a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. After finishing my food, I noticed a homeless man walking down the street by the bus stop. He opened up a trash can and dug out half an ice cream cone.

I'd never wished I'd waited longer to eat so much in my life.

Maya said...

MomOfTwins+1, a call to donate to foodbanks would be a great idea. There are huge shortages all over the country.

You turned the situations into great teaching moments, Jana!

midnight hysteria said...

doesn't it being to mind, *because i have been given much* ... we surely have! ... great example for your kids.

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer, Crazy Woman said...

Well said.

creative-type dad said...

Stealing shoes?
If it was indeed on purpose, I wouldn't make excuses on the crooks behalf.

So sad about that little Fry guy...

the inadvertent farmer said...

Ok...that breaks me heart.

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desert Rose said...

This actually hits close to home as my father is homeless. And it all is very sad. Very smart of you to offer food and not money.

Audra said...

Last summer when it was so blasted hot I bought two bottles of water for a homeless man and his dog. I agree with you, I would be okay buying them food or drink but I wouldn't give them money. It is strange that that little boy kept eating your french fries.

crazynursingstudent said...

That is so sad :(

Makayla said...

My mom and I took my youngest brother to Disneyland for the first time last year. We started our trip in San Diego, actually, and the first night we were there we stopped at Carl's Jr. to get something to eat. There was a homeless man in there who had dug a cup out of the garbage can and was getting himself free coffee. He also seemed to have some mental illness issues, and so he was walking around rather quickly saying, "I'm HUNGRY" really loudly. It scared my brother at first (who is only ten, and hasn't encountered much of that sort of thing before), but my mother proceeded to buy the guy something to eat, and as soon as we were safely in our hotel (you do have to exercise a certain degree of caution, even when the situation is sad), she explained the possible situation, and my brother -- though still a bit wary of the dirty and scary nature of homelessness -- thought about it quite a bit, and in some ways I think it has helped him feel kinder about our efforts to help those who aren't quite as fortunate as we are.

Good for you for feeding that little boy, and offering to feed the man. And for not being too mad about the shoes. :)

peace-sue said...

I lived for many years in ny, so I contended with this a lot. I will never forget the night when I was a young unsophisticated diner who had my sorry pasta side boxed up because it was perfectly good and untouched only to have a homeless guy at an atm criticize it for not being "fresh food". And my current and forever man almost killed me the night I gave away the 2/3 of an entree I had packed at a romantic philly restaurant to a homeless guy on a grate after our second date. I just want to say never give up your optimism. I too never give cash, but don't be dishearterned by those that won't take food. If its only every 10th person, its worth the offer.

loriaj61 said...

You set a wonderful example for your children and others that may be listening. We are fortunate in that we have many thing and food to eat, but to share with those that don't.... There is a special place in heaven for those that give of all that they have. Thank you for being who you are. You are funny, and bring joy to my day, but you also have an amazing heart.

HW said...

creative-type dad:
We said we were sorry :)

Julie B said...

think you are eating too much burger king???!!!

Lisa S said...

..and the rest of the little boy story? Was he there by himself? Sad.

SnazzySocks said...

Maybe it's because we don't eat fast food because as hard as things are in our neck of the woods, NJ, I have not seen anything like this. I worked in an inner city school for years and never even saw a kid steal food. Where were the child's parents while he was dining with you? If he was alone, did anyone call the authorities? Did he leave or did you leave him after the meal?