I attended a late talk by a renowned British academic today and on the way back home I decided to buy something to eat as it was a bit late already. I stopped at a McDonald's and while I was eating, this guy in the table behind me asked me "What's this word?" and showed me a facebook conversation. The word was a very badly misspelt "security" (I struggled to understand it) and the friend was telling him that he's going to be working as a security person (bouncer) at a well-known local nightclub. This already made me uncomfortable because these people have a certain reputation in Malta (many of them are unqualified, unnecessarily violent, and discriminatory).
A few minutes later this guy's son (around 8 years old, I would guess) walks in with a ball and wearing a football kit, presumably having finished training. He sat down at the table and his father ignored him completely. A couple of minutes later this conversation took place:
"Aren't you going to buy me anything?"
"Buy you what?"
"But I haven't eaten for 9 hours."
By this point I'm like
Long story short the request took place a couple more times to which the father said something along the lines of "if I find your food at home I'll beat you up." At one point the kid said he was thinking of running away and explained where he would have passed from to go home, prompting the reply "You have no idea how much I would have hit you had you done that." By now I'm very uncomfortable and messaging a couple of friends for advice on what to do.
Eventually the kid went to the toilet and I don't think the father even realised he was gone for a couple of minutes (too busy on his home). Eventually he stood up, looked around confused, and when he didn't see the boy he just left and did not return.
When the kid came out he didn't seem too disturbed. I waited a while not knowing what to do and eventually offered him my phone to call someone to come for him. He wanted to walk home like he originally told his father, but I couldn't let him do that because it was dark and because I don't know what would have happened had his father found him. I couldn't drive him home either because an 8 year old in a stranger's car does not look nice at all. Eventually I called his mum who said she will come for him and I left him with the management after explaining the situation.
Still very shocked. Hopefully it ends well...
The odd thing is that I was originally planning on going to a completely different place, but passed in front of this McDonald's on my way there (in ramsej's hometown) and there was a parking spot right outside so I decided to stop there instead. Maybe I was meant to play a part in this.