I have to admit I committed a towering act of stupidity this weekend, something I've never done before. My youngest son (the one with autism) absolutely loves going to zoos, especially if they have penguins. I had taken him to Adventure Aquarium a few weeks ago because the have a new penguin exhibit, but I had promised him that when the weather got nice, I would take him to the zoo.

I decided to take him to the Turtleback Zoo in Essex County because they have penguins among other animals. It’s not very close to my house in Jackson, but I figured it would be worth the drive. We left about 9:30 am so we could get there before it got too crowded because the weather was perfect and I knew a lot of people would have the same idea. It took about an hour and a half to got there and they already had people directing traffic because it was so busy. We found a place to park and walked to the ticket window and while we were waiting, I went to grab my wallet and discovered it wasn’t nestled in my back pocket as it usually is. I didn’t panic at first as I mentally retraced my steps to think if I had pulled my wallet out during the trip.

I have E-ZPass, so I hadn’t needed it to pay tolls and we didn’t make any stops so my heart sank as I realized I had left it at home. To the best of my recollection, I have never been in that situation before. I always have my wallet with me because putting it in my pocket is part of my routine (I like routines). I certainly didn’t want to disappoint my son so I tried to think of a work around. I thought about using my phone to order tickets on line but I had read the FAQ on their website the night before, so I knew they weren’t equipped to handle online sales. I even briefly considered asking a stranger for money, but I figured that nobody would give me money and I would just look like a beggar or, worse, a scam artist. I also thought about pleading with the box office to let me in, but I knew intuitively that they wouldn’t do it. Then I thought about my older son who attends Montclair State. I called him to see if he could bring me some money. Unfortunately, has a Saturday morning class and was in the middle of a final (the class is Tennis, but it still had a final), so he couldn’t act as a courier.

I grudgingly came to the realization that I was going to have to disappoint my younger son by turning around and going home. He appeared to take the news better than I thought he would, but he’s not terribly verbal under the best of circumstances and these were not the best of circumstances. So, we turned around and drove the hour and twenty minutes back home in silence. The next day I took him to see the new Avengers movie (he loves superhero movies, too) and right as we were going out the door, he said, “Dad, do you have your wallet?” Funny kid.

More from New Jersey 101.5

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM