to the man who assaulted a five year old...
where do i begin? what do i even have to say? you are the worst kind of predator. you, the man who sat in a bathroom stall and waiting for silence, silence except for the happy chatter of two little boys. you chose an amusement park full of happy, joyful children to yank two boys from their innocence and into your bathroom stall. when they got away from you, you tried to sneak out of that bathroom, a towel over your head to avoid recognition. you used your mental disability as an excuse for your behavior, right after whispering the words, "don't tell your mommy" to my little boy and his friend. your disability excuse is a disservice to every beautiful, wonderful mentally challenged person i have met, who meet their disability with honor and grace and morality. you, you are the worst kind of predator, but you do not win.
to the mother who took my son and yours to the amusement park...
you are the superhero of this story. you did everything right. when two little boys needed to use the restroom, you let them experience that tiny piece of independence, knowing they were going in together and expecting them to be safe. you didn't just watch from afar, you stood at that bathroom entrance and listened and waited for those two little boys to come marching out. you listened to their silly chatter and then, in the middle of an amusement park full of people and chaos, you noticed when their chatter stopped. you noticed the quiet. you noticed the seconds ticking by. you noticed things weren't right...and you acted on it. you called their names. you waited as my son came out first and you listened to his story of a man in a stall. you believed him and you called out your son. when his story was the same, you did the impossible. you secured the boys with another mother and you marched into that men's bathroom, not knowing who or what you would find. you confronted a stranger and a potential predator and, when he ran, you ran after him. you managed to overtake a man, younger than we are and probably faster. that's what moms do. we fight for our kids. we stop at nothing to protect them. we put on our superhero capes and we show the world what bravery is. that's what mothers do and that's what you did, not just for your own son, but for mine.
to the countless people who stepped in to help...
you are the brightest of lights in the darkest of moments.
you were the mom who sat with little, scared boys while a man was being chased down.
you were the gentleman who blocked the path of the man running to slow him down enough to be apprehended. you didn't know what the story was, or what you were facing, but you bravely jumped in anyway.
you were the man who used the restroom before my son and his friend entered. you calmly and carefully washed your hands as those boys entered. my son noticed you. you were the "nice man who didn't do anything scary." you, just by being there and by being good, gave those boys a few more seconds of innocence. without saying a word, you protected two little boys a few moments longer. a few seconds made a world of difference in what could have happened to those boys. you mattered.
you were the amusement park worker who brought my son ice cream as security and the police were called. when i arrived with all my other kids, you did the same for each one of my other children. you were older than me, and i'm guessing you are a mother because you mothered each of my kids. you fed them, got them special drinks, brought them ice cream. you took some of the fear away and started to turn things around with simple, kind gestures. you are important.
to my little boy...
i'm so very proud of you. i'm so proud of you for running away. i'm proud of you for speaking up and telling someone what happened, even when that someone wasn't your own mommy. i'm so proud of you for being brave. i'm proud of you for knowing the difference between right and wrong and for speaking out against the wrong. i'm so proud of you for telling your story to the people who needed to hear it, people who can testify for you so this won't happen again. i'm proud of you for helping to put a stop to a sexual predator. you were brave so other little boys don't have to be. this experience, sweet little boy, won't be your story. your story will be one of bravery, of knowing what is right from wrong and standing up for what is right, even when faced with insurmountable obstacles. you, my beautiful, brave, strong little boy, won't carry this around with you. your strength, your humor and your resilience have won that battle already. this will not be your story. your story is full of strength and, like your name means, of laughter. no one can steal that.
to the lost man who did the unthinkable...
you do not win today. so many other good people win. so many brave people win. so many kind people win. with one sick choice, you altered the course of your own life. you set into motion a series of consequences that will follow you for a lifetime. you have written a page of your story that will be unshakeable and will be a part of a label that will be with you for the remainder of your days. with one choice, you have cemented the trajectory of your future...but you have not cemented mine. you have not ruined my faith in humanity. you have not ruined my precious boy. you have not tarnished my faith in god. you do not win. everything good wins today, everything brave, everything hopeful, everything kind...those things win today...and they are so much bigger than you.
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