Based on the true experience of my sister, Sarah. Circa 1982 or 1983 perhaps?
Point of View from Mom:
I remember going to McDonald's and eating prior to shoe shopping. Only some of the children needed shoes and the other children would wait in the car at the shoe store. We ate the meal without any difficulties at McDonald's and Sarah went to the bathroom, which I totally forgot. I told the children to get in the car, and I did not count noses. We drove across the highway to the shoe store. The children that needed shoes got out and the others were told to stay put; to NOT get out of the car. The shoe store had the glass front, so when I saw Sarah standing on the outside of the car I was mad. I went out and started to yell at her, until she said that I had forgotten her at McDonald's. Boy did I feel like Mommy Dearest. She was so little and had crossed a four lane highway all by herself. And that is a very busy highway, day or night. Someone was she watching over her even if I wasn't.
Point of View from Sarah:
I remember I went into the bathroom with somebody to wash my hands. I was the last one out and when I stepped outside, the van was driving out of the parking lot. EJ was in the back seat looking back at me. He even waved as I was running after the van screaming. I didn't really know how to get home exactly but I figured if I just went the way that the van was headed I would eventually make it home. I began walking. I was very scared. I knew it was getting darker and I didn't know how long it would take me to walk home. I remember passing Kmart. I heard some bikers coming up from behind me. My plan was that if they tried to grab me I would run across the Kmart parking lot and run inside and ask for help. I knew I was a fast runner and I hoped I was fast enough. They drove by without bothering me so I didn't have to worry about it. I kept walking and then I saw the van across the street. I knew it was ours because I had never seen any other red van with an airbrushed windsurfer on the side. The road was like a five lane highway. I waited and waited for an opening. Finally there was a break and I ran across the street. I began to get in the van and immediately I was getting yelled at. Everyone was mad that I got out of the van because Mom told everyone to stay in the van. They didn't realize I was left at McDonald's. I started to cry and I told them I was left behind. Then I believe it was Emma who took me inside to tell Mom. I was still very upset. Mom was very mad and then I got yelled at again because I should have stayed at the McDonald's instead of walking down the street. I felt like I couldn't get any pity anywhere.
The next day I went to school and started writing my story in my journal. Whenever we finished a journal we turned it in and then began in a new notebook. I only got to the part about Kmart when I ran out of room. I turned that journal in and then finished the story in my new book. My teacher had taken my finished notebook home with her to read a few entries. She said that she was in suspense all night wondering how the story played out. The next day she begged me to tell her the rest of the story.
I learned my lesson and I don't think I ever got left behind again, and if I did I knew to always stay in the last place my Mom saw me. My cousin Marvin told me a story about when my aunt and uncle once left one of them in Ohio. They were hours away when they realized it and had to go back. That made me feel a little better about my situation.
Point of View from the Van:
I am big and red and have a way cool vintage hippie windsurfer airbrushed on my side. Back in the day, I was quite a catch. Then a man bought me and took me home and introduced me to his wife and seven children. Seven! I knew right then my glory days were over and it was time to settle down and be a reliable van; this family needed me. New seats were installed, enough to hold all 9 passengers, and my new adventures consisted of following the speed limit and getting an array of unknown sticky substances in my carpet.
It didn't take long for me to get used to the drill. Mom up front, Emma calling shotgun, the other oldest two in the middle and all of the little ones in back. Well, one night, things became a little more adventurous than normal. It was that time of year; the time to fit half of this army for new school shoes. The kidlets piled in and off we went on a thirty minute drive into Dunlap.
First stop was McDonald's. The cargo of kids jumped up and down (as much as one can in a van) but I wasn't worried. I knew my shocks could handle it. Normally the mom would just parade me through the drive-thru and order the usual 7 cheeseburgers, 1 hamburger, and 8 waters. But not that night. Guess it must have been special as they parked me in the corner and ventured into the place of McHappy. It was sort of nice to take a breather... y'know... quiet time.
However, this mom was on a mission to get shoes, and therefore the break was short and sweet. Before I knew it kids were piling back in and it was time to get my motor revving. Wait a minute. Something wasn't right. My weights and balance sensors were telling me something was off. I might be getting old, I thought to myself, but I am pretty sure I arrived carrying just a smidge more weight than we were leaving with. Nevertheless, the mother put me in gear and we were off.
Within seconds, I could feel someone on my heels. My rear-view mirrors told me it was one of them; the 5th one to be exact. Oh she was my favorite too! The quiet one. She never spilled or jumped around, and always wore her seatbelt. She was running to catch up with us but the mom had no idea and had embarked on her shoe shopping mission with fury.
"Run, little one! Run!" I remember sputtering out. We turned onto the highway and as we made the venture across all lanes, her image shrank away from me. I was half-tempted to fake a stalling, but alas, we turned into the shoe store parking lot and came to a complete stop.
Several kidlets shuffled out and then there was yelling as the little one made it safely back inside. There were a few more moments of chaos, tears and confusion and finally -- calm.
She was safe and sound in her chair in the back; where I could make sure she got home safely that time.