The rink has a Lost & Found, where we collect various pads, gloves, helmets, jerseys, etc, and hold on to them for a little while to see if anyone claims them. Additionally, people forget things all the time, and we often loan out gear as needed (usually helmets and hockey sticks).
So on Sunday, a kid came up to the counter and asked if we had any shin pads in the Lost & Found that he could borrow. As I started searching, the kid's father came over and asked what was going on. The kid relayed that he'd forgot his shin pads, and, I don't have another way to describe it: the dad lost his fucking mind. This is the conversation paraphrased (I can't remember the exact words):
Dad: Are you fucking kidding me Kyle? (not sure his name was Kyle; again, paraphrasing)Somewhere around here is when I found the second of two shin pads for the kid to borrow, and he went over to the bench to put them on. The dad follows him to the bench, leans over, and just keeps berating the kid, until finally the kid finishes putting on the pads and goes into the rink for his tryouts. The dad leaves the rink, presumably to come back to pick him up later.
Kyle: Sorry, Dad.
Dad: Why didn't you tell me when we left the house?
Kyle: I didn't want you to have to waste money (I don't understand what he means, but I'm 100% sure this is what he said).
Dad: I can't believe you Kyle, I can't believe you could be so stupid!
My instinct pretty much right away was to say something, anything, to interrupt this father's bullying. Officially, the rink has a zero tolerance policy for profanity and harassment, and I would've had every right to tell the dad to leave the building. But I didn't, and in the end didn't say anything to the dad. It doesn't feel like it was the right move, but I had two worries.
The first is that I'm not a parent, and I'm not this kid's parent. It feels weird to step in and tell someone they're being a bad parent, even when you're perfectly confident that they are. It's an incredibly complex and delicate circumstance, and I obviously didn't want to escalate anything.
Second, and more importantly, is that like I said, the kid was going in for tryouts for a spring/summer league. Assuming I've assessed the situation correctly, this kid seems to blow off his dad when he's blustering, and he enjoys hockey. A confrontation by me might have caused this terrible parent to pull his kid from tryouts and prevent him from playing hockey anymore. It might have cost this kid the chance to do something he enjoys, away from his nightmare of a father (who, as I said, exited the arena when his kid got on the ice).
But, that might just be me trying to justify totally failing at protecting this kid from a bully. I don't feel good about myself right now, that's for sure.
Anyways, I guess that's it. I don't have some conclusion or anything, just typing through my thoughts on this bizarre and troubling experience.