Code Adam


I was wandering thru the store . . . looking for a new pair of pants . . . lost in my own thoughts . . . voices come over the intercom.  I’m not listening, trying to decided between sweetened Almond milk or unsweetened Almond milk.  When suddenly she appears in my isle. 

I’ve been scared before.  I’ve felt my throat swell, and my breathing become shallow.  I’ve seen pain in the bloody face of a young man.  I’ve heard hearts in agony.



This was so different from anything before.




Squeezing her purse in a tight clenched fist, walking fast.  Calling out in an voice that was battling for control.  She was battling for control.  And control was slipping.  Slipping away.  Out of my isle now . . . I her voice becoming shrill with fear.

And I stand there.


I STAND THERE.  Like an idiot.  Like a chump.  A code Adam – A CODE ADAM has been called – that’s what went over the intercom.  Looking around I see store employees on radio’s, I see them walking, checking row by row.  I see her – the mother, I see her struggling to keep it together – I see her trying to walk 3 different directions at once.


. . . Yellow shirt – that’s what they said – her little girl is wearing a yellow shirt . . .  



Do I see any yellow shirts?  Have I seen any yellow shirts? 



Yellow shirts, yellow shirts . . . . . yellow shirts.


What kind of twisted freak would take a kid?!!!?!?!



And as I stand there scanning face’s, looking for yellow shirts – as I stand there I am reminded, just how fragile all of this is.  How in a moment life can change. 


A moment.




And how in a moment it can all come back.

They find her – she is safe.  People with radios go back to stocking shelves.  People with carts go back to shopping.  And life goes on. 


Disaster came so close.


And life goes on . . . . just like that.



  1. Does it? That Mother will be forever just a little more observant where her children are, new shopping rules will be applied (stations=-). I hope your observations give a bit of insight and understanding to young men and women on how their own Mothers felt when they pulled similar acts. I call it the 2 second rule every kid has this ability. Every parent has experienced it.

  2. Profound Neil. I love how you captured all that emotion as well man.