The gate began to drop even before the announcement went over the PA.
“Attention all associates: Code Adam. Repeat. Code Adam.”
Code Adams occurred at least once every weekend since Black Friday, but they never failed to unsettle me. A child had been separated from his parents. Usually they wandered over to the toy department or to the bathroom, but there was always the third scenario.
“The child’s name is Josh. Two years old. Blond. Wearing a red sweater, blue jeans, and Iron Man light-up sneakers.”
The last line was the most important. According to our training, a child abductor might change his victim’s clothes to get that child out unnoticed, but he is least likely to change the child’s shoes.
Of course, there was nothing I could do. As a cashier I had to stay at my post while everyone else took up the search. With no one in line, I busied myself organizing the return cart.
And there it was. Just outside the window, strobing like a beacon, an Iron Man sneaker lying on its side in the parking lot.