Dear Barb—Camping Conundrum

Dear Barb:

Hi, my husband and I and a couple of friends were camping last week and we came upon a situation where we weren’t sure what was the right thing to do.  It was a nice sunny day and we were just sitting around reading and having a few drinks.  Across from us were a couple of campsites with what looked like a group of senior citizens.  They were drinking pretty consistently, and, as the day went on, it was obvious they were getting looped.  A family with three young girls around ages 7 to 10 set up on a nearby campsite.  The girls were riding a bike up and down the road, which is fine; there is limited vehicular traffic in the campground.  At one point we noticed one of the older men went over to them. 

There was only one bike for the three girls and they were taking turns riding the bike or running beside or behind.  I couldn’t hear what the man was saying to the girls, but I could see him directing the girls on what to do.  He seemed to tell the one girl to sit on the seat, while the other one could ride the bike standing.  Then he motioned for the little one to get on the handle bars.  He was holding the bike up while they started driving the bike.  Well of course the bike fell over.  Fortunately, none of the girls were hurt.  He did this a few more times, and eventually the girls stopped riding by his site.  I struggled with whether I should go to the girl’s parents or whomever they were with and tell them about what was going on.  I wasn’t sure if it was my place, but I was concerned that the girls would get injured.  Not sure what was the right thing to do in this situation.  What do you think? Thanks, Monica.

Hey Monica:

Thanks for your letter.  Some people just do not think.  Perhaps it was the age or the alcohol that contributed to this man’s poor decision-making ability.  I’m wondering about the other people who were with him, why didn’t they try to stop him.  Since this fellow was intoxicated, it probably wouldn’t have been a healthy choice to confront him.  Therefore, my suggestion would have been to go to the parents and let them know what is going on.  If they were alright with it, there wouldn’t have been much you could do except possibly go to the Park Ranger and report the situation.  Fortunately, nothing happened and the girls were smart enough to avoid these campers, or perhaps the parents saw what was going on and advised the girls not to go around that campsite.  Good question Monica.

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