“I was headed toward the self-checkout at Walmart with just a few items. My three-year-old was in the cart, happily playing pretend by herself, totally oblivious to everything around her. I decided to get out my phone camera and record her to show my mother. She was so funny! Pretending that her hands were dinosaurs or some such, making up a voice for each one, and having hand battles.
Anyway, as I was fumbling with my phone, a young woman in Walmart uniform came up to me and put her hand on my shoulder. She’d been watching me for some time before approaching me. She looked deeply in my eyes and whispered something. I didn’t catch it at first (maybe because it was so shockingly unexpected it made no sense to me. She repeated, ‘Is she possessed?’
I looked around, expecting to see a crazy person talking to themselves. No one else was near, so confused, I turned to her and said, “Who?”. She then pointed to my daughter, who all this while continued to play by herself. As it sank in what she was suggesting, with an increasingly sick sinking feeling, I was thankful that my baby wasn’t paying attention to the brief conversation. Then the woman did the unthinkable. She laid a hand on my baby, halting her blissful world and narrowing it on this woman. She then said, ‘Stop, just stop, baby, you need Jesus.’
My child quietly looked at her with large confused eyes, then glanced at me, then back to her. I was now almost in tears, my world was spinning. The woman said a few more words to me that I didn’t catch. I was too mortified to hear anymore or react. Looking at the ground. I picked up my baby and my purse then rushed straight to the customer service desk. All the while my baby was asking me what that woman wanted and asking, ‘Mommy, what does ‘possessed’ mean?’
How do you explain something like that to a three-year-old? And we DID go to church. I was now at the service desk. I haltingly, holding back sobs, tell the lady what happened. Not having gotten the name of the woman who had approached me, I pointed her out to the lady. She then got my number and told me it would be taken care of. Then we leave. Now at my car. I strap my baby girl into her car seat. I get into the driver’s seat, turn on the car, then let the tears silently roll. While I sit there for a moment catching my breath my phone rings. It’s the manager of Walmart. The customer service lady must have contacted him immediately after I left! He asks for me to yet again relay what had transpired. I’m still trying to calm the hiccups from my voice as I tell him, my baby still inquiring over and over what ‘possessed’ means in the back seat. Finally, the manager asks what I’d like to have done about the employee in question. Instantly I think to myself I could have this woman fired. But, then I thought from the girl’s point of view, she obviously didn’t think she had done anything wrong. She was very ignorant, but well-meaning, and obviously grossly unfamiliar with children. I chose mercy. I told the manager that at his next employee meeting he needed to go over how to treat customers with young children, and how to appropriately converse with them. Fast forward to today. My baby girl will be 8 years old next month. She doesn’t remember that day, and I don’t bring it up. It’s not something I’ll likely ever forget, though. I still frequent Walmart. One employee misstep shouldn’t reflect everyone who works there. I’ve never seen that employee again. I assume she was fired anyway.”