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Evacuation Plans: Grab the Crib

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I wish I’d had a camera.

My son goes to daycare in a federal government building in downtown Atlanta. To enter the building, I show a badge, walk through a metal detector, and punch a code into the daycare’s front door. It’s high security, but I accept it and feel comforted by the notion that my son is safe.

Last week as I pulled up to the building, things seemed awry. At 4 p.m. the skies swirled dark and windy and the air was frigid, yet many people congregated outside the building. Police cars blocked the usual entrance.

I rolled down my window to find out what was going on, and the police officer told me the building had been evacuated because of smoke in an electrical room. I thought I should panic (Where was my son? My eighteen-month-old evacuated?), but instead I smiled. The thought of a daycare full of infants, toddlers, and young kids evacuated at a moment’s notice seemed hilarious.

“They followed the evacuation plans and are in the church across the street,” he said. “They should be coming back right now.”

As he finished his sentence, I saw the first teacher step up to a busy intersection. Her hair looked like she’d been caught in a tornado and she obviously hadn’t had time to put a jacket on. She pushed what appeared to be—and this is when I started laughing—a crib with six dazed looking babies. Then more and more teachers popped up behind her, each pushing cribs full of babies. The infants and toddlers were riding through downtown Atlanta in cribs, thin hair blowing in the wind, legs piled on top of each other. Cars stopped at the busy intersection as the rolling beds with bobbling heads crossed the road.

I spotted my little guy, dressed in a gray cable-knit sweater, riding with three of his friends. He had been asleep when the alarm sounded, and it was clear that he thought he was dreaming. I ran up to the crib and said, “Henry! You were evacuated!” And he just glared at me through the narrow, wooden bars.

Tell us about a time when you wished you had a camera. Was it a beautiful sunset? A “what not to wear” sighting? A weird juxtaposition of nature and steel? Paint the scene with words.


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