Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

One for the embarrassment payback bank


Children can be SO embarrassing…

Bf is on another long-haul trip at the moment. This one isn’t really bothering me (apart from his ‘check in’ call (to let me know he landed and arrived at the hotel safely after his long flight) was 3 hours late. I was convinced that some lunatic foreign taxi driver from had killed him!

I had to go shopping, and obviously had to take all 3 little ones along-oh joy!

One of the local supermarkets has recently been refurbished to include a new floor above the supermarket with all the non-food items.

It’s December, and the store was heaving with customers in a pre-Christmas shopping frenzy. It was utter chaos in there. To get to the new floor, you have to take your trolley up a ‘travellator’ (like an escalator, but more like a giant conveyor belt on a ramp a bit like the flat ones you get in the larger airports).

When you get on, the trolley is magnetised to the belt, so that it sticks in place (health and safety). We had finished upstairs, and got in the queue of trolleys waiting to come back down.

So, we’re on our way down; baby in the baby seat of the trolley, boys behind me, and I notice that the travellator is slowing down, and wonder why.

Maybe there are too many people on…?

Then the travellator comes to a halt.

I look around, to see if some daft individual has slipped over and assume that an automatic cut off has activated, but no one has fallen.

An entire travellator full of people with trolleys look perplexed.

Then I notice that my 4 year old son is looking sheepish and guilty. I look closer, and to my horror, notice a large red emergency cut off button at shin level behind him, with the word “STOP” printed on it.

I hope and pray inside that the answer to my next question is no… I can see that he hopes and prays I haven’t noticed the big inviting red button, and that I won’t ask the inevitable question. He shifts his weight to his other foot to try and conceal it from my view, but it’s too late.

“Son, did you push that button?”

He pretends he hasn’t heard me, and tries to look interested in something in the other direction…

“Son…” (he turns toward me, but looks down at his feet). “Did… you… push… the red button???” (still looking down, he acts as though I just spoke to him in some bizarre foreign language that he didn’t understand). I am now aware that other people have noticed the situation, the button, and are silently watching me, and judging me as a parent.

So I get down to his level, forcing him to look me in the eye, and repeat the question. My son, looks uncomfortable, and then, almost inaudible, whimpers ”yes” in the most pathetic voice he can muster.

My heart sinks, despite the fact that I guess I already knew this was going to be the answer. Part of me wanted to laugh; but the more immediate part of me was aware that about 10 people were stuck and couldn’t move, and the people coming up, were all snickering at us (CRINGE)!

“WHY did you push it!? (no answer)…

“What if it had cut off the power to the whole store!?” I ask in my most disapproving voice!

“What if it was a button to end the world!?” (ok, maybe slight over emphasis on the gravity of the situation)… “Why did you push a button when you didn’t even know what it was for!? That was a VERY silly, very naughty thing to do!

I was forcing the most authoritative, and scornful voice I could under the circumstances, without shouting at him (I loath it when parents scream at their kids in public) and scolded him for his silly actions. In that moment, he lost his after dinner treat, and some of his pocket money as punishment. He started sobbing.

The man behind me asked if I could let him past, and shift my trolley, and I apologised, and told him I could not, because it was effectively glued to the floor! He huffed and puffed, and looked extremely put out, before turning on his heels and weaving his way off the travellator in the other direction. I felt myself turning a deep shade of scarlet.

I managed to lean over the side and tried to catch the attention of a staff member, to try and get the thing moving again. It took about a minute, but felt more like 10! The man said he needed to get a key to get it running again (great).

It felt like he must’ve got a bus to town to get a key cut, the length of the delay. Meanwhile, people are glued with their trolleys to their position, all of them staring expectantly at me like an audience in anticipation. Some of them obviously savouring every moment of my humiliation, some of them pretty hacked off with their unplanned delay.

I felt like the worst parent in the world! My son sobbing, mourning the loss of his treats, and I am officially a bad parent!

Afterwards of course, without the eyes burning into me, I was able to see the funny side, and have decided that in 15 years time, this will make a nice pay back story. One of the ones I’ll tell his future girlfriends.

What a stupid place to put a button like that though! So tantalising for a child, a big chunky red button, just taunting them, screaming out to them to invite all 4 year olds in close proximity to push it!?

I’d be amazed if he’s the last tiny fingered culprit to give in to his curiosity!

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One Response to “One for the embarrassment payback bank”

  1. I’m surpised that this hasn’t happened to us yet, I’m sure it will in the future. But, since you’ll never see those people again, it won’t be hard to get past the embaressment.


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