We’ve just come back from a week in Italy. We stayed in one of those ‘family friendly’ resorts. The type that has only families in it, and gives you the feeling that it’s super safe, almost as if nothing bad can happen cos everyone around you is exactly like you.
But the truth is that this feeling is merely an illusion.The truth is that this type of place is no less dangerous than anywhere else you might take your kids to, because the reality is that – even ‘crazies’ go on holiday.
Last day of our holiday. I was in the lobby with my eldest saying good bye to the children’s entertainment staff which she had grown very attached to. As she hugged the main character I stepped back and walked into a young child who was standing behind me.
As I felt I had walked into someone I immediately stepped forward and turned around. Just to make it clear – I barley touched the child. One would say I ‘nudged’ her slightly. The child was fine and smiled at me as I made sure she was okay.
The next thing that happened was totally unexpected.
A man, who was obviously her father, grabbed hold of her and picked her up. He looked at me and was clearly very upset. I did what anyone would have done in a similar situation and said how sorry I was, still thinking it was no big deal.
It took me a moment to realize this man was not having it. I said sorry again to which he replied by yelling “I am not sorry” and instead of walking away just stood there as is he was waiting to do something.
It was then that I noticed the hate in this man’s eyes. He looked crazy with rage, and his wife beside him looked scared out of her wits.
And then it hit me – I was scared.
The man proceeded to walk up and down the corridor, mumbling and staring at us. He looked as if he might get violent and I was sure he was swearing even though I could not understand what he was saying.
I held on to Bella’s hand and started making our way to the other side of the lobby and up the stairs to reception. The man followed, still looking at us and mumbling in Italian.
I pretended to need directions and stood at reception for a while waiting for him to go away. After a few minutes that felt like an eternity, we made a move and literally RAN to our room, leaving him and his poor wife and child behind.
It took me forever to fall asleep that night. Not cos something majorly bad had happened, but rather cos it suddenly dawned on me how that feeling of safety I had all week was just an illusion.
The truth is that the fact someone has a child says nothing about them. The truth is that no one knows what goes on behind closed doors and the fact is that all type of people go on holiday. Even bad people. Even ‘crazies’.
I have to admit that I was delighted we were leaving the following morning after that incident. I can’t imagine having to stay in the hotel one more minute knowing I may bump into that man again.
We often go places that are ‘family friendly’ and I usually feel as if that alone means the place is safe. This experience has changed that.
I know it’s not a positive outlook and I hope I can keep it at the ‘back of my mind’ rather than allow it to take over. But I also think that when it comes to our kids – ‘better safe than sorry’ is the only way to go.
Even on holiday.
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