Over Columbus Day weekend, my family and I went down to the nearby Great Wolf Lodge for a little mini-vacation. I’ll be honest, it’s not my idea of fun. I don’t love public water, be it at a pool or an ocean, and spending several days in a row primarily wearing my bathing suit? Just no.
Still, the boys always have the very best time and sometimes as adults–as parents–we do things that are not high on our priority list to give pleasure to the ones we love. For me, Great Wolf Lodge is one of those things.
On Saturday, I was taking a short break at the table and chairs we’d managed to snag when we first went into the water park. My eldest was in the wave pool with a friend, and hubby had the youngest with him on an endless loop of slides. So I sat for a few minutes, watching the lazy river.
As I watched, a woman in a shirt with “TRAINER” emblazoned across the back dropped a rubber toddler into the water and then crouched behind the curve just ahead, watching.
Couples continued to float by on their inflatables. Kids continued to swim and run past. And that rubber baby floated there, face down, with no one doing a thing until, after what seemed like an inordinately large amount of time (especially given how many people floated right on by without doing more than glancing over), the lifeguard blew his whistle and dropped into the pool to scoop up the dummy.
The trainer and the guard walked together, chatting, along the lifeguard’s little stretch of concrete and then she and the rubber baby ambled off, presumably to give other people heart attacks elsewhere.
I’ll admit to thinking that it was too bad none of the people floating by had bothered to even try to help. I didn’t think the dummy was so obviously a dummy that it didn’t warrant more than a glance, but maybe pool people can identify them more easily, and they know it’s not their job to intervene because it’s a test run. But still, I wondered if the response would’ve been different if the child had been flesh and blood not rubber.
Thirty minutes later, as I walked in the lazy river behind my boys, I saw frantic splashing up ahead. This time, the people around did reach out and call to the lifeguard who blew his whistle and jumped in…to rescue the trainer. And a little bit of my faith in humanity was restored. Because while no one had batted an eye at the rubber baby, when it looked like an actual person was in distress, they’d been right there to help.
Still, I can’t really get the image of that floating toddler out of my head. What if they’d been wrong? What if it hadn’t been the training dummy? Shouldn’t someone at least have reached out to see, for sure, that’s what it was (even if it meant they got in trouble with the trainer)? Life isn’t a test run — let’s take the time to check and see if something’s a rubber dummy. We need to be looking out for the people around us. Even if it isn’t technically our job.