After my therapy session yesterday, my therapist (who is good friends with my business partner, so we know each other “off the couch” too) asked me if I had time for her to tell me a personal story. Rather intrigued, of course, I stayed.
So… her 14 year old son (I’ll call him “J”) hangs out with his best friend’s family all the time – for 10 years now actually. They have taken him on vacation with them several times and last week, he was in the British Virgin Islands with them.
Apparently the parents were drunk (um, or more, in my opinion) for like 4 days straight and were very belligerent to the kids and each other. This was not normal behavior for them, so J was freaked out and kind of just hid in his cabin on the yacht. The Dad started pecking at him for like an hour, “Hey J – what’s your deal? Why are you hiding in your cabin?” J refused to answer, until the Dad finally said, “Is it because we are drinking so much?” So, J (being a true therapist’s son) said, “Actually, yes. And if you want to go on vacation and get drunk the whole time, that’s OK – but it’s really not the best example to do it in front of your kids and their friends.” Apparently the Dad just went ballistic over that comment, start yelling and cursing at him for a long time and finally said, “Well, what the hell do you want to do?” And J simply said, “I want to go home.”
So, what does this guy do? He gives a 14 year old boy two thousand dollars cash… made his own son (J’s best friend) take the dingy and drop J off on a random pier in the BVI.
Can you believe that?
J’s only mistake in all this was to not call his parents right then and there… but apparently he is a pretty resourceful kid because he divided up all the money into different pockets so nobody saw him with wads of cash… he walked to the closest resort from the pier and asked for directions to the airport (several islands away) and proceeded to take a cab then ferry, then cab, then ferry, and so on till he got to the island that had the airport on it.
The Dad back on the yacht at least had the sense to call my therapist and tell them J was on his way home, but he gave them no details and yelled at them about their “whippersnapper” kid and then hung up. So they had to just start calling ferry companies and finally picked up his trail at the ferry right before the airport. That ferry captain had J call them… and then they arranged for a unaccompanied minor flight back to the States. He got home safe and sound – no worse for wear and actually thought of it all as bit of an adventure. My therapist and her husband, on the other hand are a complete wreck. This all happened late last week.
They have spoken to the police here and in the BVI, but since it happened in the BVI, the US police can’t press charges… and since J was home before they even called the police and was not harmed, the BVI police can’t do anything. They also called Social Services, who do plan on paying that family a visit, but again, since it did not happen here – their hands are tied too.
And the saddest thing of all is that J has lost his best friend… But I guess he’s lucky to be alive, too.
I was just in shock the whole drive home. I told her I could see accidentally getting drunk one night in front of your kids… I mean, things happen… but not for 4 days straight and every single thing they did after that point is completely inexcusable.