After hearing her two young sons describe a terrible occurrence that threatened their safety, a mother said she felt nauseous, but was later happy that her children had recalled two words that allowed them to escape unharmed.
In her blog Time Well Spent, Jodie Norton described waking up one morning to an excruciating ache in her stomach while she was in the shower. The pain left her feeling dizzy and sick.Copy
She got ready and drove to the local hospital with all four of her children, but she left her two oldest boys, then ages 10 and 8, on a bench outside the emergency room to wait for a neighbor to pick them up and take them to school as her parents had agreed.
She didn’t find out till much later that her neighbor was taking 40 minutes instead of five because he was coming from further than his residence.
Three strangers had approached her two sons on multiple occasions, trying to convince them to accompany a man into the hospital washroom.
“Their story of what had transpired while I had stupidly left them out there alone made me simultaneously sick and grateful,” she said.
“While on that bench, they were approached by an adult female and two punk males who asked them if they’d #help them out by going into the bathroom where her boyfriend was hiding from the doctor and see if they could convince him to come out and get treated.'”
CJ, the mother’s 10-year-old son, said, “No, thank you,” but they kept asking him, saying: ‘Please? You could really save his life if you’d just go in that bathroom and tell him it’s safe to come out.’
Thankfully, CJ told them no repeatedly and firmly, and they gave up.
A third man emerged from the hospital’s restroom, hopped into the car with the other strangers, and drove off before the neighbor arrived to pick up the boys.
Jodie claimed her mouth “hung open” when her sons told her the event, but she was grateful they didn’t go with the strangers after they expressed their hesitation.
“I heard CJ spout off a family ‘stay safe’ rule we went over way too long ago that helped him know these creeps were up to no good. Most specifically, a tip for identifying a ‘tricky person’.”
CJ had said: “Mom, I knew they were tricky people because they were asking us for help. Adults don’t ask kids for help.”
What is the ‘tricky people’ concept?
Safely Ever After originated the term “tricky people” to describe those who are deceptive or difficult to read.
Pattie Fitzgerald, the founder, advises: “Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day.
“Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe.”
The approach recommends teaching children that only “tricky people” need aid from children. A trustworthy adult won’t ask a child for help; they’ll go straight to another trusted adult.
She also advises: : “Replace the word ‘stranger’ with ‘tricky person’. It’s not what someone looks like, it’s what they say or want to do with a child that makes them unsafe or ‘tricky’.
“A tricky person can be someone you know well, don’t know at all or know just a little bit. Like your mail carrier or the ice cream man. Anyone who tries to get a child to break their safety rules or hurt their body is not OK.”
Pattie’s website, Safely Ever After, features numerous other warning signs and prevention strategies.
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Jodie called the police, and now they’re looking at surveillance footage from the hospital’s entrance.
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