Much like the dentist or the DMV, I try to avoid going to Chuck E. Cheese’s as much as possible, but it just so happened I found myself there the other day. I gave my kids about four hundred dollars worth of tokens and then began to guard our booth and wait for our freshly defrosted pizza to arrive. I sat there for a few minutes alone slurping my root beer and laughing to myself thinking, Well, I guess this is my “me time” for the day, when out of the corner of my eye I saw August come running towards me with another little boy hot on his heels. August had a look of complete terror on his face and just as he was about to reach our table, the little boy grabbed August by the hair and yanked him backwards off his feet — kind of like an Indian scalping a cowboy in an old Western. I jumped up from our table, appalled, and the little boy ran away and disappeared into the crowd.
I scooped up August off the ground and while sobbing, he told me that while he was playing skee ball, this little boy came over and hit him in the head with a basketball three times. When August told him to stop, the little boy gave him the middle finger (August demonstrated this) and then proceeded to punch August in the face. When August started to run away, the little boy ran after him trying to grab him by the throat.
I couldn’t believe it. At a Chuck E. Cheese’s? I mean, this kid couldn’t have been more than five or six years old and he’s attacking other children?
I was suddenly filled with rage — mama grizzly bear rage when one of her cubs has been attacked. Without thinking, I hunted the boy down, then stood over him to scare him with my full height and said the following —
“If you ever touch my child again, I will kick your ass. Do you hear me? I WILL KICK YOUR LITTLE ASS!”
Yes, I know. I threatened to beat up a child. It’s a new low for me.
But here’s the thing — the kid didn’t even blink. He stared right back at me and shrugged, as if to say I’d like to see you try.
This enraged me even more because the kid called my bluff. My heart was pounding. I was so upset, so I blurted out —
“Oh, so you don’t think I’m scary, do you? Well, I’m really good friends with Chuck E. Cheese and he saw what you did… and he’s going to kick your ass too.”
The little boy’s mouth fell open. His eyes widened. I thought, I got him. Just then, I noticed Chuck E. Cheese walking around the room and I said, “Look, there he is! He’s coming over! He’s going to get you!” The kid took off like a shot. Satisfied, I marched away and told every single Chuck E. Cheese’s employee about the boy and made them go over and yell at him. Then I tried to find the boy’s parents, which was completely impossible in the crowd. As a I walked back to our table to check on August, I spotted the boy — and he was standing at our table talking to August!
The boy saw me and exclaimed, “I was saying I’m sorry!” I clapped my hands in the air like I was shooing a raccoon away from a campsite. “Get out of here! GET!” I yelled. As the kid scurried away, I called out, “Chuck E. Cheese is right behind you!!!”
Now, I know this wasn’t the right thing to do. I’m not writing this story to defend myself in any way.
Once we were driving home and I had regained control of my senses, I talked to my kids about the whole thing. I told my kids that the little boy was totally wrong in attacking August. It was completely awful and August didn’t deserve it AT ALL, but the sad part is — someone must have done it to that kid. He obviously had a bad life — he was five years old and I could see it written all over his face when I was yelling at him — he’d been yelled at a lot — and he was numb to it already. I could have been the one adult that was ever nice to him in his whole life and I wasn’t. He even tried to apologize and I wouldn’t accept it! And instead of hating him, we should feel sorry for him and hope that he finds happiness somehow.
So, to the little boy in Chuck E. Cheese’s — I’m sorry. I should have gone Gandhi on you and instead I went Goodfellas.
But seriously, don’t attack any more children. Because a giant rat is watching you… always…and you just don’t know what he might do…