Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cooper the Captive

Tonight we (just the boys and I) went to my nephew's birthday party. After filling their bellies with party food, brownie birthday cake and sugary drinks, we headed for home. We were only a couple of miles into our journey when two boys announced the need for a bathroom. I wasn't surprised. Historically this announcement is made with no warning and at a time when restroom facilities are by no means convenient. I immediately pulled into a Subway's parking lot. Caleb and Cooper jumped out of the car. I asked Caleb to help his brother in the restroom. As I was making this request my inner voice was saying, "This is not a good idea." I ignored all internal warning bells and watched the boys scamper into the restaurant and make a beeline for the restroom. I stood by the car monitoring the remaining boys with a birds eye view of the restroom door.

A few minutes later Caleb emerged from the door without his little brother. He reached the car and announced that Cooper wanted to go by himself. My inner voice smugly shouted, "I told you so." We reentered the restaurant and I attempted to retrieve Cooper from the restroom. The door was locked. I said, "Hey sweetie, unlock the door so we can go home." The knob shifted slightly and then a little voice answered, "I can't." I repeated my request and received the same answer. At this point customers and employees were becoming aware of the situation.

A group started to congregate around the bathroom door. They say, "Adversity brings people closer together." No statement could ring more true at that moment. Customers and employees stood side by side uttering encouraging words and offering tips to retrieve my captive three year old. All of our coaxing and instructions appeared to be in vain.

Moving on to Plan B, one of the Subway employees brought out a metal instrument about the size of my arm. It looked like something you could use to pick a car lock. (I was a little concerned that he had this instrument so readily available!) After several minutes of fidgeting with the lock, we heard a click, the knob rotated and the door swung open. The crowd gazed into the small room. We were fully prepared to see a petrified three year old boy huddled in the corner. Everyone was surprised (except for me) to see Cooper, happy as a clam, entertaining himself with the trash. I snatched Cooper up and commanded him to apologize to the Subway crew. He expressed his remorse and we exited the restaurant, heads held low (at least mine).

It was quite an experience, but isn't every day?

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