Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The Day I Lost Him (The Second Time)...
The stupid credit card machine just wouldn't read my card. I swiped it three times, each met with an error message. Finally, the overly-chipper Disney Store clerk took the card from me and entered the numbers manually.
It was part of our usual Monday afternoon routine. We had just finished an I.V. Glutathione treatment and, as promised, my little hero was rewarded with a trip to the Disney Store.
He picked out his toy, a Buzz Lightyear figurine, and waited patiently in line to pay for it. Something caught his eye and he bounced over to the Lightning McQueen aisle to investigate it. My blood pressure rose steadily as I tried to keep one eye on him and the other on Mr. Chipper and my credit card.
"No, thanks," I replied, as I glanced over at my son again.
He was gone.
I felt my face grow hot and my fingers turn numb. I walked over to the Cars aisle trying to keep my cool.
I spun around and surveyed the store with no luck. "Keep it together, Jer."
"Eric? Where are you?"
I ran out of the store into the mall. It was a weekday afternoon, so it was not overly crowded, but scans of both directions yielded no sign of my son. The panic began to grab me.
I decided to first walk in the direction we had come thinking he may have headed back towards our car. I reached the exit and found nothing. Then I returned to the store and walked in the opposite direction.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths. "Call security and close down the exits. He couldn't have gotten too far," I advised myself. "Jesus Christ, where is a security guard when you need one?!"
I returned to the Disney Store and approached Mr. Chipper. "I lost my son. He has Autism. I need you to call security."
"Daddy, buy Lightening McQueen?" Eric asked without a hint that anything was amiss. He never left the store. He must have been hidden behind one of the displays.
His voice buckled me. I hugged him. I thanked God. We went home.
As we left I heard Mr. Chipper exclaim from behind the counter, "Have a Magical Day!" I want to punch that guy in the face.