Talking to My Kids About “Tricky People” — Not Just “Strangers” — Saved Their Lives

Quick backstory. Actually, I’m incapable of condensing anything so it can be considered “quick” but I’ll try. Three days ago I was in the shower around 8:30am when it felt like I was shot in my left ovary. You didn’t see that one coming, did you? In short, it was an unbearable pain that had me doubled over, light-headed, and incredibly nauseous. Well, with the help of some unseen angels, truly, I somehow got enough clothes on my body to be decent, and drove my four kids and myself five minutes to the ER. (My husband was out of town which has proven to be a common theme in our house when family emergencies arise.) So, what does this have to do with tricky people?

I taught my kids about “strangers” but not “tricky people”

In a moment of what I deem foggy-thinking “pain brain” I left my two oldest boys–CJ (10) and T-Dawg (8) outside the ER door on a bench to await our kind neighbor who said he was coming to pick them up and take them to school (thanks to my parents who arranged all this while I was driving to the ER). My younger two and I went inside to see if we couldn’t figure out what the heck was causing the pain. Spoiler alert: Ruptured ovarian cyst. Really fun stuff.

It wasn’t until my boys came home from school at 3:30pm, that I found out they had been waaaay late to school. I had wrongly assumed my neighbor was coming from his house (not somewhere farther away), so my two boys sat out front of the ER for 40 minutes. Not the 5 minutes I had expected. Their story of what had transpired while I had stupidly left them out there alone made me simultaneously sick and grateful.

tricky people

In that 40 minutes of obedient sitting and waiting, my two boys experienced their first real-world experience with the freaky, perverted strangers they’ve been intermittently warned about. While on that bench, they were approached by an adult female and two punk males who asked them if they’d “help them out by going into the bathroom where her boyfriend was hiding from the doctor and see if they could convince him to come out and get treated.” Yes, I’m serious that’s what they said. Even after CJ replied, “No, thank you” they kept at them.

“Please? You could really save his life if you’d just go in that bathroom and tell him it’s safe to come out.”

CJ said he returned all three of their pleas for help with a “no, thank you” (each stronger than the last) before they finally let up. Shortly afterward, the neighbor showed up and my boys jumped in his car, but, not before they saw a third adult male come out from the bathroom, jump into the car with these other three hooligans and drive off.

My mouth hung open the entire time they relayed this account.

Jodie Norton
Jodie Norton
Jodie Norton is a mom in the depths of the child-raising trench. Her current ambitions in life are to have her house stay clean for more than ten seconds and to raise kids who aren't afraid of hard work. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, is an avid reader of all things parenting, and is a fan of working alongside her kids. Most days. Jodie currently resides in Southern Utah with her husband and four kids in-training. Check out her website at

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