A Foot out the Door

Story Sent in by Bonnie:

Mark volunteered to play with homeless children, which I thought was the sweetest thing in the world. He asked me over email if I wanted to go with him to one such session, and then we'd have dinner afterward. I loved the idea and met him at a designated play space at a local nonprofit.

The kids were adorable and a couple were very sweet, but most of them were loud, violent, and... did I mention loud? They screamed conversation at each other and when the conversations were done, one would punch another one. Most of the time I imagined spending "playing" was spent breaking up fights and making sure everyone was nice to each other. For my part, I tried to be as patient and compassionate as possible.

Finally, as I predicted, one of the kids decided to go violent on me. As I knelt down to play with some blocks with some quieter kids, he stomped over and stamped on my feet. He then stared at me as if daring me to reprimand him.

Mark was nearby and he said, "Hug him. Petey likes hugs." As Mark said, I hugged little Petey.

"What are you doing?" Mark asked all at once. "Don't hug him! We're not allowed to touch the kids!"

I said, "You just told me it was okay!"

"I didn't think you'd do it!"

"It... but you... it was just a hug!"

"Oh my god, I'm going to have to report this to Nancy." Nancy was the play space supervisor at the nonprofit. I had met her when I first came in and Mark had vouched for me. Now was I going to land in big trouble because of a hug? Really?

Mark said, "I'll be right back. I have to report this. You're going to be in huge trouble."

He left the room. I was in panic mode. Another volunteer came up to me and said, "Mark's like that all the time. Run while you can. Run! Run!"

I left before Mark came back. He never contacted me again, thank goodness.


  1. No better way to spend an afternoon than watching a bunch of child bum-fights.

    1. I was totally thinking he would ask her to meet him under a bridge where he would alternate throwing chunks of bricks and Snickers bars at homeless kids. You see what this site has done to my expectations of other people? It makes me so happy :-)

  2. Why, oh god why would you dare do that. I just. You're awful op. Just the worst. I can't believe you actually left without slapping Mark for his ridiculous behavior. Don't you see children like him need discipline not love? Ugh. People these days.

  3. I get the feeling this is one of those stories that has 2 very disparate versions depending on who you ask.


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