Another Police Story, Laughing off the Bus, happened in Scarborough, Ontario in April of 2014. This time it involved myself and my second son, who would be three months shy turning 3.
This is a short story, that will be over quickly enough.
While my wife worked, I was stay at home daddy for both my sons, first son was in school that day, while second son was with me. We went to Target one morning in early March; when we left it was raining just a bit, when we returned it had stopped. I decided to bring Second son without his stroller. I wanted him to walk!
Nothing of interest happened at Target, the real fun happened when getting off the bus. I can’t be sure if I remember, but I am pretty sure Second Son has ridden the bus without stroller before, yet maybe this was his first or second time getting off bus by rear doors. I say this because he seemed to “step off and drop”, which seems to say he was not aware to “jump” because its a bit higher at the back of the bus. Anyways, Second Son “fell off the bus”, and I thought this was pretty funny! I laughed while I helped him up, and asked, using my voice, if he was alright. He nodded and together we went home. He did not fall into any puddles or off the curb, and yes, he was just fine, he did not cry, he might have said “ow” or “ouch” but his nod that he was alright was good enough for me.
At home, I encouraged him to take a short nap, which he has almost outgrown by now. I was probably catching up on household chores when my Hearing Ear Dog (which I gave up in August of 2015) alerted me that someone was knocking at the door.
There, standing on my doorstep, where two police officers. Oh, what happened now, I wondered as I calmly searched for a pad and Sharpie. I did not let them in the house.
They, grim faced and husky, wrote down two things after discovering I was Deaf. You should all know the first by now: “Have you been drinking?” while the other was a new one: “Is there a child in this house?” To the first, I wrote down “No” and, probably, showed them my just-filled coffee cup. To the second question I said wrote “Yes” and gestures “sleeping”. I did not permit them in the house. They did not press the matter, they could not enter my house without authority, and I didn’t give them any. So they left.
The same old story is replaying itself, why were they there in the first place? Who called them? What did I do to raise eyebrows? Almost immediately, I knew “who” alerted the police; a bus passenger who got off the bus with us, who then saw the boy fall, and was, apparently mortified by my lack of empathy when I laughed, decided to stalk me and call the police as if I was high on dope! I was, at the time, not overly upset about the situation. I let it go. When my wife arrived home from work that day, I told her what happened, her main concern was that I should have let the police “see” the boy was alright and asleep. I can do that next time.
I want to get this last little comment out before I release some emotions…
About a year later, my second son and I go pick up my first son at school, being the stay at home daddy, one afternoon, we were running late, and Second Son had on mismatching shoes, and an unzipped coat when it was still kinda chilly out. I caught up to him at the corner, and proceeded to zip up his coat while noticing the mismatched shoes. He also had a messy face, lunch? Anyways, a lady walking her dog was at the corner too. She had the gall to ask me: “Is this your son?”. (This was a rare incident when I was able to understand precisely what was said, don’t ask me how.) Naturally I said “Yes.” Then, I quickly added, “Is that your dog? Do you a licence for that dog?” My voice was clear, enunciation precise. As she scurried away, I hope she learned her lesson!
What lesson is that? All four Police Files are about lumping a person with disabilities into the “Drunk” category. Instead of asking “Have you been drinking?”, police should be asking “Do you have a disability?” or become more observant! Don’t jump to conclusions!
Since I now almost always use mobility aids (Walker or White Cane), I have not been approached!