The younger of the two girls started crying. I waved and smiled at her to try to get her to stop, but I think that just made her cry more. Five or six minutes passed, and the man came running back outside, and asked if his daughters were crying. I started to say that the younger one wa—
But then he ran back inside. And then he was gone for another three or four minutes. Finally he came back out, gave me a quick and not-at-all-heartfelt "okay, thanks" and jumped in the car and drove off. I felt sort of used.
As I was waiting there for far too long, two things struck me: first of all, he asked me to watch his car, not his kids. Of course in this case they were really one and the same, but still, it seems that a caring parent would have chosen a word like "children" over "car." The other thing that occurred to me is that I wasn't really sure why he wanted me to watch his car. I was a complete stranger; unless I looked more trustworthy than someone scary (!) with dark skin (!), I wasn't really any more or less likely to steal his children while he was away. The car wasn't exactly going anywhere. Really the only thing I could come up with is that I'd be there to notice if someone hit the parked car and the kids were injured, but realistically, it's a busy entrance and someone was walking by the car every five or ten seconds, so many people would have noticed if anything had happened anyway, so again, my being there didn't really serve a purpose. So really, the conclusion that I came to is that I stood there ten minutes to make a stranger look like less of an ass, because he had gotten someone to watch over his