The Day My Family Left the Movie Theater

Going to the movies was always such a blast growing up. I looked forward to going with my dad and sisters, and as the years passed and I got older, I enjoyed going with my friends. I remember the anticipation from seeing the previews on TV and the movies being advertised via merchandise.

Not much has changed with my own children. My 7 year old Noah anxiously waits with excitement for movies to be released. I enjoy being able to take Noah and his younger brother to the movies and let them pick out a splurge snack at the concession stand. It’s such a fun experience … until it’s not.

With the recent shooting being only a few hours away at the movie theater in Lafayette, I’ve been reluctant to take the boys to the movies. However, last week my husband and I decided to take our boys as a special treat since Noah was off of school. We let Noah decide on the movie and off we went to a weekday matinee.

When My Family Left the Movie TheaterEver since the shootings happened in theaters a few years back, I’ve truly made it a habit to find the exits once seated. I may sound paranoid, but you can never be too safe, right? We quickly saw that we were the only ones in the theater and Noah thought that was super cool.

While watching the previews, an older gentleman walked in with an oversized coat and a large crossbody bag. Red flags went off in my head. What is an older man doing alone at a cartoon matinee? I just kept telling myself that I was overreacting.

Before the movie started, my husband insisted that we take the boys to the restroom. Once we were outside, my husband asked me if I found it odd that the older man was at the movies alone and with such a big crossbody bag. I immediately said YES and was thankful that my fears were shared by someone else. I should note that my husband is the calm one in our marriage so for him to feel uneasy was a bit odd.

We mutually decided that, since we both felt uneasy, it was best to leave. We told management, and once we did, she even made the comment “are you referring to the older man with the big coat? I had a weird feeling when he came in.” With that, I knew we made the right decision.

Noah is now 7 and understood that when we said it was time to leave, he acted appropriately and followed along. Now my 4 year old? He was hysterical that we had to leave. I literally had to drag Liam kicking and screaming outside.

With the Lafayette shooting hitting way too close to home, I just couldn’t help but think of all the possible “what ifs?” I don’t know how I would have been able to live with myself if something happened that day. I’m totally team “better safe than sorry.”

It is so sickening that we even have to have the thought of something so terrible happening while doing such a normal thing like going to the movies as a family.

Have you ever been put in a situation with your children where you had red flags go up? What did you do? How did you handle it?

Mary Olivio
Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.


  1. Just last week I got the email allowing me to pre purchase my Star Wars tickets for the upcoming release. I got all excited! I ordered four tickets and as i got to check I stopped myself. All I could think of was the movie theater shootings and then I cancelled my order. Its a shame that we have to live like this. I know we would have had a blast but its not worth taking a chance that some lunatic will be there too!

  2. Public gathering places such as this should all have metal detectors and armed guards, just like government buildings. When I was a senior in high school way back in 1992, there was a shooting at the high school I attended. A gun went off in a female student’s purse. I was quoted in the newspaper saying the same thing I am saying all these years later. Until society can act civilized, we must put these safeguards in place for the greater good.

  3. Months prior to the Lafayette shooting I took my son to a matinee movie. Two young men (teenagers) came in to a kids movie and sat in separate areas of the theater (but they were together). I felt VERY uneasy so I gathered my belongings and my son and home we went. I’m on team #followyourgutinstincts.

  4. I was just wondering once you mentioned this to the manager and they were concerned. Did they question him or even have law enforcement come question him ? It’s a shame we live in this fear now a days

    • And say what? “There are a few people who think you’re too old to be here. Please come with us for questioning.” …? That’s silly! It’s one thing to be paranoid. It’s another to violate someone’s freedom over it.
      Don’t call the cops on someone unless they do something suspicious!!

  5. My sentiments exactly. Something similar happend when my husband and I were visiting California. We stopped to eat with the kids at an Arby’s when two gentlemen came in. They stayed staring at us as we paid for our meals.They didnt order anything to eat and stayed watching our family the whole time. We were so lucky that an off duty officer came in, they just grabbed a water and took off. I agree its better to be safe than sorry.

  6. Metal detectors? What about stopping the nonsense of the “right to have a gun”? Why should we worry all the time about gun owners (or relatives or whatever) going bananas and shooting people? That is something that happens only here and it is up to the US citizens to do something about it. The answer is no guns. Period.


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