This afternoon found me and the family escaping both our messy house and the hot, humid disgustingness that is Indiana in the summer by shopping at a local strip mall.
First we went to Old Navy, where we stocked up on some summer essentials for all of us. Then we went to TJ Maxx, where I found a bathing suit that at least didn’t disgust me. And then? We went to Petsmart, where we threw our loot, along with our diaper bag, in a cart and proceeded to wander around the store.
I tell you all this not to bore you, but to give you the background information you need to evaluate the story I’m about to share.
To distract Tori from an impending temper tantrum caused by the removal of a dirty dog toy from her mouth, I pulled her from the basket of the cart and crossed to where the parakeets live in their big plastic jail.
The exotically-colored birds that chirped and flitted about the cage entranced Tori. So much so that I ventured even further from our cart (although still keeping it in plain sight) to help her get closer to them.
She squealed and clapped her hands in delight, drawing the usual charmed smiles from passers-by and besotted beams from us, her parents.
That’s when I saw them.
A couple grabbed our cart and started heading for the exit.
I handed Tori over to Brian and went after them.
“Excuse me, that’s ours!”
They kept walking.
Finally, I caught up with them – just as they reached the front of the store.
“Excuse me, miss, you have the wrong cart,” I said, smiling.
For a moment, she still seemed not to see me, and then she blinked.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s been a long day. We must have grabbed the wrong one…”
And they melted away.
I reclaimed our cart and headed back to Brian, thinking nothing of it.
“What was that about?” he asked.
“Oh, that couple…I guess they just grabbed the wrong cart.”
“I don’t think so. I think they were trying to steal our stuff.”
“Don’t be silly. Why would anyone want to steal a diaper bag?”
“They didn’t have a cart of their own. Look.”
I looked where he was pointing and saw the couple checking out with one small bag of cheap dog food.
“Well, maybe they already put it away,” I said, feeling a little shaken.
“Somehow I doubt it.”
We dropped the subject after that, but it’s still bothering me. I like to think people are generally good (despite all the evidence to the contrary). I’d like to believe that that couple made an honest mistake. I really hope my husband is wrong.
But maybe I’m just naive. What do you guys think?