The following account is based on a true incident. Names, ages and circumstances have been changed to protect privacy.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dom Perignon:
I had a great time babysitting your son on Friday night. We did a lot of coloring, Lego building, and even played hide-n-seek, which he won (of course). He was very good about brushing his teeth and getting into bed on time. I started to read Charlotte’s Web to him, but he fell asleep just before Wilbur meets Templeton.
The reason I am writing you this letter is to let you know that I will not be able to babysit for you again. I am very sorry and I am going to miss your son a lot. I feel very sad because I trusted you and never imagined you would put me in a dangerous situation, but you did. I was brought up to trust and respect adults. Now I don’t know what to think.
In the past, Mr. Perignon has always driven me home with no problem, but last Friday night felt different. When you came home, you were both acting weird and it scared me. You were talking to me really loudly even though I was right there and I couldn’t understand some of your words. I was really worried because I needed to get home, but I was too scared to tell you that I didn’t want to get in your car. Actually, I was also angry that you thought it was ok to drive me home. I guess you didn’t realize how much you had to drink at the party. I wish you had. I wish you had made a different decision.
Remember how I told you my mom was in the neighborhood and was going to pick-me up just down the street from your house? I lied. When I told you I needed to use the bathroom before leaving, I actually called Safe Rides from your bathroom. I explained my situation to them and they said they would come and take me home. Instead of waiting for my mom at the end of your street, I waited for two sober Wilton High School seniors. That’s the ironic part. Everyone in this town thinks that it’s the kids who drink and drive and make bad decisions. What I learned last Friday night was that I could count on 18-year-olds more than I could count on adults.
I used to believe that I was safe with adults and that adults would always make the right decisions. I guess I don’t believe that anymore. Maybe everything they tell us at school is a joke? Maybe it’s fine that people my parents’ age drink and drive and that it’s just younger people who aren’t suppose to? Maybe I am just making a big deal out of nothing, but all I know is that I felt very alone and confused that night.
Because you are such good friends with my parents, I haven’t told them anything because I don’t want to hurt their relationship with you. It is clear to me, even at 14-years-old, that social stuff and what people think is really important in this Town.
All I ask is that you don’t put another babysitter in the same situation. They might not be as resourceful and might allow you to drive them home.
I want them to make it home.
The Wilton Youth Council has additional information available at http://www.wiltonyouth.org
The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.
Information: wiltonambulance.org, facebook.com/WiltonVolunteerAmbulanceCorps.