Yesterday I was walking into the grocery store, carrying my son, and holding my daughter’s hand. All the sudden my foot slipped right out from under me. I about did the splits (and I am NOT a very flexible mama) but managed to stay upright, not drop my son and catch my composure so I could stand up, shaken but unharmed. I was so overwhelmed by the suddenness of the fall and trying to save myself and my son from getting hurt, that when I stood up, I was surprised by the number of people who had gathered around me.
“Are you okay?” “Is he okay?” They fawned over me and my son. I looked around, trying to figure out where my daughter went.
“Are you hurt?” “Is he hurt?” “Let me get you a cart.” I was surprised, but appreciated the genuine concern of the other shoppers.
“You probably need to talk to someone in management, you probably strained a muscle or something. There’s a big puddle of water on the floor that shouldn’t be there. I’m going to get someone.”
I was fine, my son was fine. It was just a slip. A big slip, but I hadn’t even fallen on the ground. I just wanted to go run my errands and go home.
And then a store employee was next to me. “Ma’am, I heard you fell. What happened, where did you fall, are you okay, is your son okay?” I assured her I was fine, he was fine, we would be okay. “Do you need to talk to someone? The store manager?”
No, I didn’t, I was fine. “Okay,” she said, “but let us know if you change your mind.”
So I went on my way and did my shopping. But I started to notice that my neck, back and shoulder were kind of sore. From carrying my almost 30 pound son, or from the fall? Was it all in my head?
Should I say something? I was not seriously hurt, I reasoned with myself. It’s not like anything was going to come out of it.
And then a manager was standing next to my cart, asking me the same questions all over again. Why wouldn’t they just leave me alone?
I assured him again I was fine. He asked me to come to the office when I was finished shopping so they could get my information.
I finished my shopping and waited for the manager. I told him that I was not hurt, my son was not hurt, we didn’t need to get checked by a doctor. He told me that I didn’t have to fill out a report if I didn’t want to, but if I changed my mind I could always come back and do it tomorrow. He aplogized for the puddle of water, and for my fall. I thanked him and left.
At home, I relayed the whole incident to my husband whose first response was, “Did they give you a gift card?”
Huh? I didn’t even think of that.
I am not one of those people who likes to makes a big scene out of things. I appreciated that so many people were concerned about me and my son, but really I felt embarrassed about it. Yes, there was a large puddle of water right inside the entrace to the store that shouldn’t have been there. Yes, I was carrying my son and the fall could have been much worse than it was. But, it wasn’t. So I just wanted be done with it and go home.
I’m not a confrontational person. I don’t like to make a big deal out of things. Like a bad meal at a restaurant, I’ll just let it go – but my husband will speak up to have it corrected, as well as often receiving a gift certificate.
But now I wonder if I should have spoken up. If I should have maybe milked it a little more. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to try to sue them for damages for a minor accident, but sure, a gift card would have been a nice gesture of their sincere apology. And what if it had been my child, and not me? Would the mama bear in me come out? Or would I still keep quiet? I would hope that in important situations, I would be able to stand up for my kids, but honestly, I’m just not really wired that way.
But if I won’t speak up for myself or my kids, who will?
So I want to know, what would you have done? Are you someone who speaks up, or keeps quiet, in those kinds of situations? What if the situation involves your kids?
Photo credit: jekert gwapo/Flickr