slice of life

The engine turned over & my heart skipped a beat!

Later in the day, when Ari was in the driver’s seat, I took the keys away!

We’ve decided to buy a minivan.

In a matter of days, my husband will turn-in his leased sedan will start driving my SUV.

I will drive the minivan.

But this isn’t a story about how the minivan feels like a pair of mom jeans to me. No, no. It’s a story about what happened when we left our almost-seven-year-old daughter and our 13-month-old son alone in a parked SUV at the car dealership while we shopped for a new car.


Marc and I were talking to the salesman.

Isabelle and Ari were seatbelted in the front seat of an SUV in the middle of the showroom not far from where we were talking.

Suddenly, I heard an engine start, which isn’t something you typically hear inside of a car dealership. I whipped my head towards the sound and saw illumined brake lights. My eyes bulged out in my head. My kids were in the car that was ON! I froze in place as I envisioned my children shattering the dealership’s glass windows and speeding onto Route 22!

But while I stood there, pathetically frozen, Marc rushed over to the car as Sidney, the car dealer, said to me, “One of you should really be in the car with them.”

“Why are the keys in the car!?!?!?” I spat back, feeling a little judged, while I witnessed Marc run towards the car, open the driver-side door, and depress the start/stop button to turn the car off.

“It’s state law, ma’am,” Sidney told me.

“Since when?” I asked him. “We looked at cars last year and this never happened when my daughter sat in them.”

He shrugged.

“Excuse me for a moment,” I told Sidney.

I walked over to the car where I could swear I smelled exhaust. I peeked my head into the vehicle, looked Isabelle square in the eye, and said, “Did you know you were turning the car on?”

“No, mommy,” she said wide-eyed.

“I believe you, but one of us has to stay with you now in the car.”

“But I want to pretend to drive with Ari,” she replied.

“I understand that, but I had visions of you and Ari driving down 22 just now and they weren’t good visions. One of us will be staying with you now, okay?”

“Okay,” she said.

My daughter is an inch shy of four feet. There’s no way she could’ve depressed the brake pedal while pressing the push-start ignition. At least, I don’t think she could.


See? I told you this wouldn’t be a woe-is-me minivan story.

slice of life_individual


11 thoughts on “The engine turned over & my heart skipped a beat!

  1. Damn – that’s quite a story! I can imagine the panic! Very glad that no one was hurt, just startled and scared. I think your next slice could be “the transition to the minivan”! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I can feel your heart jump! I remember when I was about three, going out to my parents’ station wagon and somehow, I got it to roll out of our driveway. My mom came racing out of the house, her hair still wrapped in a towel from her recent shower. I’m sure her heart was racing just like yours was. Glad everything turned out okay for your family too.

  3. Talk about an experience that drains the color from your face. I didn’t know about that it was state law to leave the keys in the vehicle. I guess I haven’t looked at new cars in a while.

  4. Scary! Glad all was safe! It is something the car salesman should have been alert to and shared with you before you started talking. So sorry you had a scare.
    You will love the mini van although I must say I was glad we our kids were grown up and I could let go of driving the van. Glad to be back to a smaller car. But it was perfect when the kids were young!

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