Recently I was on vacation (and it was awesome!). During one of our excursions we played some miniature golf in the blazing southern heat. We were on the fourth hole when another family arrived and began playing at the adjacent course. The family was loud, abrasive, and were arguing with each other the moment they arrived.
A few minutes later, we heard the mother yelling at her seven or eight year old daughter. All of us looked at each other, then did our best to ignore the awkward situation. Another few minutes passed and the yelling started again. This time, insults were hurled at the child on how poorly she was playing golf. It was her fault they were standing in the heat and the humidity for so long. The girl was removed from the hole they were playing and forced to watch while the rest of the family played without her.
The situation went from awkward to downright pissing me off. If you’re a long time follower of mine, you know that my mom was verbally and at times physically abusive to me, so I tend to be quite sensitive to these situations. My oldest and youngest children were with me and they were just as aggravated as me because two teen boys (her brothers?) had started in on her too.
My oldest was about to walk over and talk to them, but I advised against it. I felt it was too risky and may lead to a physical altercation or possibly something worse. I suggested that we take a break from the sun under the canopy of a building near where they were playing instead. I hoped that would keep them from picking on her if they knew that had a captive audience watching them.
Thankfully, it did. While we sat and drank our cold waters and gave them the side eye, they left her alone and continued to play. When we eventually went back to our own golf game, they quit their game and went home. I cannot tell you how deeply that saddened me. Knowing that that poor child was leaving with them. I felt helpless. We tried to get their license plate, but they left too fast.
Did it make the family think about how they were treating that little girl, and that's why they left? I doubt it. They were probably just too hot. Should we have called them out on their behavior and risked an altercation? I'm not sure. The only thing I'm sure of is that little girl deserves better.
If you had been in my shoes, what would you have done?