I was maybe seven or eight. We were living in New Jersey and shopping at Two Guys, a department store chain that went out of business in the ’80s.
Somehow I got seperated from my parents. I turned down aisle after aisle and couldn’t find them. I started running, and remember some corny music playing over the PA system that made me say out loud, “Great music to play when you’re lost!”
One of the employees must have noticed my distress. He came over to me and asked if I was lost. No, I thought, I always run around department stores like a maniace, crying my eyes out. “Yes,” is what I uttered. A few minutes later that corny music was interupted by an announcement, “We have a little lost boy…” Within a couple of minutes I was joyfully reunited with my family.
Being lost like that is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced. Losing someone ranks right up there too. Many years after my Two Guys adventure, after I’d gotten married and had a son of my own I was again shopping. This time at a mall on Long Island. My wife and I were in different sections of a store, each believing our son was with the other parent. When we came back together and realized that neither of us had Caleb, panic set in. I don’t think I’ve ever run faster, up and down that entire mall, twice. What seemed like an hour later, though it was probably five minutes at most, Caleb, around three at the time, came wandering out of another store. That initial panic was replaced by relief and joy.