A reader sent me the following story:
Two days ago my daughter L’s 8th grade class returned from a field trip at 9:00 PM, so they let the girls come in late the next day. An hour or so before L had to leave, her friend M called her. M was locked in her house! (Most locks in Israel need to be opened with a key even from the inside). She had lent her brother her key, and her parents were at work. Her brother was already at school. L tried to talk M through finding solutions — getting help from her parents, grandmother, aunt, etc. L kept calling back to report no success. Her parents just told her to stay home and not worry about it, and her relatives, who did not have keys to the apartment, pooh-poohed her concerns and told her to enjoy her vacation day. M was scared, and L pointed out that if there was a fire or a gas leak — even in a neighbor’s apartment — she would have no way to get out. We suggested that the parents send a key to her by cab, if they didn’t want to interrupt their work day to go themselves. (We keep keys with neighbors, plus we always have a key in the door so we can get out immediately in case of emergency.) M’s parents refused to help her, and stopped answering their cellphones. [MiI: This part bothers me the most.]
L suggested to M that she try calling her father at the medical center where he works. I helped her find the number and called to find the right department. L didn’t want to go off to school and leave her friend stranded, so she decided to take a bus to M’s father, pick up the key, and return to let N out. I allowed her as she wouldn’t miss too much in school, since most of the classes happened not be academic. It was hard for L to find M’s father, but she managed it and released M. By that time it wasn’t worth going to school.
Here is what amazes me:
1. The parents don’t keep a key in the door in case of emergency.
2. The parents refuse to help their daughter when she is locked in her house!
3. The mother called M just before L left our house, and said she would call the father and let him know L was on her way. He was apparently in a meeting and only his wife could interrupt him, not his kids. In the end, he was surprised to see L and hadn’t realized she was coming. But why wasn’t the mother embarrassed that her daughter’s friend was missing school to take care of her daughter because her own parents wouldn’t?!
I have not yet heard from the parents, and haven’t asked L if she did. I suggested to L that she tell M to make two copies of her housekey, with her own money if necessary.
Kol hakavod (kudos) to L’s mother for taking care of her daughter’s abandoned friend, and teaching them both an important lesson.