He was washing his hands when the stall door slowly creaked open. Nobody came out, which was odd, but he also noticed the plastic contraption affixed to the wall. It read “Baby Changing Station.” Suddenly he had a glorious idea.
The sign in front of the fast food restaurant boasted that it was open 24/7, but everyone in the area knew that the city was a ghost town after 2AM. When he came back at 2:30 that night, he parked his car by some others in the department store lot next door. There were people inside stocking the shelves overnight, so his car didn’t look out of place. He opened the back door and unstrapped the small bundle from the car seat.
He had needed to drive around town for over an hour before the bundle had stopped crying and finally fell asleep. Now it smelled like sour milk, and definitely needed a clean diaper, but there was no way he was going to chance waking it before getting inside. He walked in slow, swaying steps across the parking lot.
He peeked around the corner of the building. As expected, the interior of the fast food restaurant was devoid of customers. He slowly opened the door. The restaurant’s two employees could be heard talking in the back, over the sound of hip-hop music. He stepped in and guided the door gently closed behind him.
Inside the bathroom, the door to the stall was half open. He stepped forward, careful not to squeak his shoes on the tile. He stepped through the half open door, rather than chance the creaking noise he had heard last time it opened. Here was the baby changing station, folded into the wall just like he last saw it.
He took one final peek out the stall door to make sure no one else entered the bathroom. He turned back and lowered the table of the station.
He set the bundle down on the baby changing station, and the child opened its eyes. It squinted in the bright bathroom interior, frowned, and inhaled a lungful of air to continue the caterwauling it had left off before the car ride. The man lifted up the baby station table and closed it into the wall before the child could begin the scream. Silence.
He was afraid that an employee may have heard the station close but wasn’t sure how long he was supposed to wait before opening it again. He looked at his watch. He looked at the bathroom door. He looked back at his watch. He never realized time could pass so slowly.
When he could wait no longer, he again lowered the baby changing station table. On the table was a puppy. It had a smooth blue bow tied around its neck. The puppy started wagging its tail.
He picked up the puppy. It licked his face. He nuzzled the puppy and scratched it behind the ears. The puppy cocked its head and closed its eyes contentedly.
He walked out of the bathroom, puppy under his arm. He left the restaurant and walked back to his car with a huge grin on his face.