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Old 02-20-2013, 05:35 PM   #1
Baliezer
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Humiliated at the Reno Airport

Just got back from a trip to Reno with my family and I am having a hard time getting over what happened at the airport. It was about 9pm and the airport was practically empty. As we unloaded the suitcases from the car and into the airport, my dd (2) pooped in her pants. It was so bad that it was coming out everywhere. My husband had to move the car because of security, so I was left alone with all four girls and the suitcases. We moved everything off to the side, I sat the older three (11,10 and 4) down next to the suitcases and ran the two year old into the bathroom to quickly change her.

When I came out, the gate agent for Southwest Airlines was waiting for me. She said in a loud tone, "do you realize you left three of your children and luggage in an airport by themselves?" I tried to explain to her that my two year old had pooped in her pants, but she refused to listen to me. She told me that she had already called my husband and that security was next. Their were only four people in line, but I was so embarrassed I just stood there and cried. My husband then showed up and took over. I sat with the girls humiliated and shaking. It was late and we did not want any trouble so we just got the boarding passes and left. Unfortunately the girls witnessed everything.

I cannot quit thinking about what happened. Is eleven really too young to leave in charge of a 10 and 4 year old outside of a bathroom with luggage? I asked my oldest if they did anything wrong and she said no. I keep trying to let it go but I feel like this ruined our whole vacation.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baliezer View Post
Just got back from a trip to Reno with my family and I am having a hard time getting over what happened at the airport. It was about 9pm and the airport was practically empty. As we unloaded the suitcases from the car and into the airport, my dd (2) pooped in her pants. It was so bad that it was coming out everywhere. My husband had to move the car because of security, so I was left alone with all four girls and the suitcases. We moved everything off to the side, I sat the older three (11,10 and 4) down next to the suitcases and ran the two year old into the bathroom to quickly change her.

When I came out, the gate agent for Southwest Airlines was waiting for me. She said in a loud tone, "do you realize you left three of your children and luggage in an airport by themselves?" I tried to explain to her that my two year old had pooped in her pants, but she refused to listen to me. She told me that she had already called my husband and that security was next. Their were only four people in line, but I was so embarrassed I just stood there and cried. My husband then showed up and took over. I sat with the girls humiliated and shaking. It was late and we did not want any trouble so we just got the boarding passes and left. Unfortunately the girls witnessed everything.

I cannot quit thinking about what happened. Is eleven really too young to leave in charge of a 10 and 4 year old outside of a bathroom with luggage? I asked my oldest if they did anything wrong and she said no. I keep trying to let it go but I feel like this ruined our whole vacation.
Did you husband support your stance? That's all that would have mattered. You know your kids, if you felt that 11 & 10 were old enough to "babysit" the luggage, then who is the gate agent to say differently?

I know plenty of kids that start babysitting that age. If they're old enough to be resposible for watching a child, they're old enough to wait with the luggage until Mom's done in the bathroom.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:43 PM   #3
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I'm sorry that happened.

I think 11 and 10 is plenty old enough to watch a 4 year old and suitcases while you're in the bathroom.

Don't let this ruin your trip. If you do you've let that get agent in your head and given her power over you that she doesn't have.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:48 PM   #4
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I agree that you did nothing wrong. You feel that your daughter was old enough and responsible enough to be there with your other two. They were right outside the bathroom you were inside. You had to take care of your two-year-old. I completely get being embarrassed because I, too, would have been mortified. Try your best to move on and enjoy the rest of your trip.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:48 PM   #5
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I left mine with luggage while we took turns in bathrooms by age 8.

Ironically, SW allows 12 year olds to fly totally unaccompanied and with younger siblings! SO, had your oldest been only one year older that agent would have had to let her take her siblings through security and onto a plane. (which, BTW, I think is a fine policy and my kids both flew alone on SW at 12---just noting it is ironic that the gent was so worried about them sitting by the bathroom given the policy about flying).
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:56 PM   #6
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So sorry that happened to you.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:14 PM   #7
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Just curious - were the kids and the luggage outside near the curbside check-in?

Reno has a problem with people who leave their kids for hours at a time while off gambling. They leave them unattended in foul weather, in weird or unsafe places etc. I lived in Reno for 20 years until very recently, I've seen it more times than I care to count. I am not saying that the gate agent was in the right, I'm just throwing a bit of the local background culture into the mix.

Don't let it bother you, you know you did nothing wrong, your kids are old enough for you to explain to them when someone is being overzealous or overly protective etc. I certainly would not let it ruin your whole vacation
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
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I'm sorry you felt embarrassed. I'm probably the lone dissenter, but I don't understand why you didn't wait for your husband to return to you before one of you went to change the baby. I would have sent my DH to deal with the poopy mess. The baby was in no danger, so it wasn't that much of a rush to accomplish the change that it was necessary to leave children in an international airport without adult supervision or help. What would the 11-year-old have done if someone had attempted to steal some luggage or if the 4-year-old needed to use the bathroom and insisted that was an emergency?
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamacatnv View Post
Just curious - were the kids and the luggage outside near the curbside check-in?

Reno has a problem with people who leave their kids for hours at a time while off gambling. They leave them unattended in foul weather, in weird or unsafe places etc. I lived in Reno for 20 years until very recently, I've seen it more times than I care to count. I am not saying that the gate agent was in the right, I'm just throwing a bit of the local background culture into the mix.

Don't let it bother you, you know you did nothing wrong, your kids are old enough for you to explain to them when someone is being overzealous or overly protective etc. I certainly would not let it ruin your whole vacation
I am curious too because the OP's post isn't very clear. In the beginning it sounds like they were all still curbside when this happened but at the end of the post it says right outside the bathroom and for me it would matter depending on where they were.

In the airport? With the kids & luggage standing right outside of the bathroom where I could shout out to them and them to me if they needed me, I don't see a problem.

3 kids 11 and younger, outside, with luggage while I went inside to the bathroom? No I wouldn't do it. I can completely sympathize with the situation but if they were still curbside I think I'd let my 2 year old be messy for a few minutes, or try cleaning her up out there as much as I could before I'd leave the kids & luggage curbside.

At any rate OP, I'd let it go and not beat yourself up about it. We all as parents just do the best we can. Sometimes we wish we could do things differently but it's over, your kids are fine and you'll probably never see any of those people at the airport again. Better to have that employee say something to you out of caution for your kids, than to not notice them at all KWIM?

Forget about it and move on.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baliezer View Post
Just got back from a trip to Reno with my family and I am having a hard time getting over what happened at the airport. It was about 9pm and the airport was practically empty. As we unloaded the suitcases from the car and into the airport, my dd (2) pooped in her pants. It was so bad that it was coming out everywhere. My husband had to move the car because of security, so I was left alone with all four girls and the suitcases. We moved everything off to the side, I sat the older three (11,10 and 4) down next to the suitcases and ran the two year old into the bathroom to quickly change her.

When I came out, the gate agent for Southwest Airlines was waiting for me. She said in a loud tone, "do you realize you left three of your children and luggage in an airport by themselves?" I tried to explain to her that my two year old had pooped in her pants, but she refused to listen to me. She told me that she had already called my husband and that security was next. Their were only four people in line, but I was so embarrassed I just stood there and cried. My husband then showed up and took over. I sat with the girls humiliated and shaking. It was late and we did not want any trouble so we just got the boarding passes and left. Unfortunately the girls witnessed everything.

I cannot quit thinking about what happened. Is eleven really too young to leave in charge of a 10 and 4 year old outside of a bathroom with luggage? I asked my oldest if they did anything wrong and she said no. I keep trying to let it go but I feel like this ruined our whole vacation.
I would tweet the incident to Southwest. The Southwest customer reps are really good at tweeting back to customer comments.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baliezer View Post
Just got back from a trip to Reno with my family and I am having a hard time getting over what happened at the airport. It was about 9pm and the airport was practically empty. As we unloaded the suitcases from the car and into the airport, my dd (2) pooped in her pants. It was so bad that it was coming out everywhere. My husband had to move the car because of security, so I was left alone with all four girls and the suitcases. We moved everything off to the side, I sat the older three (11,10 and 4) down next to the suitcases and ran the two year old into the bathroom to quickly change her.

When I came out, the gate agent for Southwest Airlines was waiting for me. She said in a loud tone, "do you realize you left three of your children and luggage in an airport by themselves?" I tried to explain to her that my two year old had pooped in her pants, but she refused to listen to me. She told me that she had already called my husband and that security was next. Their were only four people in line, but I was so embarrassed I just stood there and cried. My husband then showed up and took over. I sat with the girls humiliated and shaking. It was late and we did not want any trouble so we just got the boarding passes and left. Unfortunately the girls witnessed everything.I cannot quit thinking about what happened. Is eleven really too young to leave in charge of a 10 and 4 year old outside of a bathroom with luggage? I asked my oldest if they did anything wrong and she said no. I keep trying to let it go but I feel like this ruined our whole vacation.
I'm sorry this happened to you. However, why didn't you stand up for yourself? I think you should have tried to stand up for yourself especially in front of your dds! You crying and shaking could have scared your dds as much as the lady talking in a loud voice.

I know it's hard but I think for many of us, once we have kids we have to go outside our comfort zone to handle different situations. You can't just sit there and cry! (I mean that in a nice way!)

Don't let this ruin your vacation. I'm sure you have a lot of happy memories, try to focus on those!
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:19 PM   #12
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I'm confused about how the agent called your husband. How did she get his number? If it was from your oldest, did she explain what was happening?

As others have said, it would depend on the location to me. Inside, right outside of the restroom? No big deal. Outside where people drop off? I probably would not have left the kids there.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:35 PM   #13
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I am curious too because the OP's post isn't very clear. In the beginning it sounds like they were all still curbside when this happened but at the end of the post it says right outside the bathroom and for me it would matter depending on where they were.

In the airport? With the kids & luggage standing right outside of the bathroom where I could shout out to them and them to me if they needed me, I don't see a problem.

3 kids 11 and younger, outside, with luggage while I went inside to the bathroom? No I wouldn't do it. I can completely sympathize with the situation but if they were still curbside I think I'd let my 2 year old be messy for a few minutes, or try cleaning her up out there as much as I could before I'd leave the kids & luggage curbside.

At any rate OP, I'd let it go and not beat yourself up about it. We all as parents just do the best we can. Sometimes we wish we could do things differently but it's over, your kids are fine and you'll probably never see any of those people at the airport again. Better to have that employee say something to you out of caution for your kids, than to not notice them at all KWIM?

Forget about it and move on.
We were inside near the bathroom. The girls were sitting on a row of benches.

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I'm sorry this happened to you. However, why didn't you stand up for yourself? I think you should have tried to stand up for yourself especially in front of your dds! You crying and shaking could have scared your dds as much as the lady talking in a loud voice.

I know it's hard but I think for many of us, once we have kids we have to go outside our comfort zone to handle different situations. You can't just sit there and cry! (I mean that in a nice way!)

Don't let this ruin your vacation. I'm sure you have a lot of happy memories, try to focus on those!
At the time I was scared because she threatened to call TSA. It was late and my girls had school today. I did not want any trouble. Just wanted to get home.

Quote:
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I'm confused about how the agent called your husband. How did she get his number? If it was from your oldest, did she explain what was happening?

As others have said, it would depend on the location to me. Inside, right outside of the restroom? No big deal. Outside where people drop off? I probably would not have left the kids there.
She pulled up our reservation from the information that my oldest gave her.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baliezer View Post
We were inside near the bathroom. The girls were sitting on a row of benches.



At the time I was scared because she threatened to call TSA. It was late and my girls had school today. I did not want any trouble. Just wanted to get home.



She pulled up our reservation from the information that my oldest gave her.
I would contact SW and complain. I don't see any reason that the agent should have spoken to you that way.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baliezer View Post
We were inside near the bathroom. The girls were sitting on a row of benches.



At the time I was scared because she threatened to call TSA. It was late and my girls had school today. I did not want any trouble. Just wanted to get home.



She pulled up our reservation from the information that my oldest gave her.
You know, this actually changes my opinion somewhat.

I still feel that MANY 10 or 11 year olds would be more than capable of sitting with luggage and a younger sibling for a few minutes at an airport. It just does not sound like yours are up to that kind of responsibility yet based on this (and/or that you were gone a LONG time).

I had been sort of assuming the kids had a cell phone on them and called their dad who then asked to speak to the agent. Silly me! I was tired and my mind just went to what would have happened with my kids If your kids were willing to give out their full names, or other info that allowed the agent to find your reservation, instead of just pointing out which bathroom you were in and telling the gate agent she could find you in there if she had questions, that makes it seem like they are not ready to be left as they were.

I DO think it is good that the girls stayed together and neither went looking for you as some PPs have suggested. My kids were always taught that there is safety in numbers and to stay together in such situations.



Also, I cry easily, and even I think you overreacted in a big way--and a way that is going to shake your little girls and make it harder for them to handle being alone in the future. I can't help but wonder if part of your reaction (crying and shaking at the time and feeling the vacation was ruined by this one little thing) is because there is a little more to the story than you want to share. Were the girls sitting there a LONG time? Did they act scared or did the little one cry for you? (I am thinking if you get so emotional so easily, maybe they did too)? Was the bathroom door clearly visible to the kids? Were the kids seated in an area meant for loading/unloading or otherwise "in the way" and unable to move aside with all the luggage? Etc.
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