Updated: Mar 31
Prior to June of 2015 I was nothing short of a bully, especially when it came to parents forgetting children in cars.
I, like so many others, found it unfathomable that a parent could simply forget their child, and I wasn't afraid to express my disdain for parents who did. There were a few people who tried to warn me, who tried to explain that we are all susceptible to this type of memory failure, but I wasn't having it. As a well-seasoned father of 8, ranging in age from 3 to 24, and who had NEVER forgotten any of them in hot car I was quick to judgement and harsh with the tongue.
On June 10, 2015 everything changed. I became one of those parents I had worked so hard to condemn. My daily morning routine consisted of dropping Michael off at the baby sitter, taking Michelle to work, and returning home to plan my own work day. That fateful June morning I took Michelle to work first...
I had read about auto-pilot. It is a condition we all suffer from. It's how we can navigate a drive home after a long day at work. It's how we can get 6 blocks down the road and not remember how we got there. If you would like to research autopilot in depth I suggest reading Dr. David Diamond's research available here. All I know is that I fell victim to it, just like so many other parents had, and it nearly cost me our son's life.
We, as a family, are extremally fortunate and blessed. Michael, after spending nearly 90 minutes trapped in a hot Texas car, survived. It is a story that I have chronicled in my book. The majority of families that have experienced this type of accident don't share our good fortune.
As March comes to an end and we dive into April there are a few certainties: Across America the days will get longer, the snows will melt, flowers will bloom, trees will begin to foliate, and children will be forgotten in hot cars. Even with the technology available to us it will continue to happen.
I ask one thing of you: When you begin to see these news stories unfold, use discernment and compassion. I know how easy it is to jump to conclusions. I know how easy it is to pass judgement. Slow down on your keypads and submit buttons. Allow me to be your cautionary tale and remember that you're one change in routine, one distraction away, from being a news story yourself.
It won't happen to everyone, but it can happen to anyone and it could happen to you. Read more about how it happened to me.