We know a family who live nearby and sometimes offer to drive us to school (a 10-minute walk). I have done this a few times and find it so upsetting I now decline. A few days ago the we were leaving our home the same time as this family and after being offered a ride twice, and declined twice, I tried to continue walking with my son, enjoying the slightly fresh late May morning air.
They waved as they drove by and then pulled over onto the oncoming traffic lane and parked. The father opened his door and the backseat door and once again, smiling, offered to drive us. I felt so uncomfortable at this point, having thrice declined and now he's parked in the street nearly blocking traffic.
I hurry around to the passenger side, with a huge bag carrying the DVD player we are donating to the school in front of me.
My son scrambles into the backseat and I then spend the next five minutes repeatedly asking for the seatbelt and "where is the seatbelt" and "can you get the seatbelt..." The other two children are sitting in their carseats unattached. The father is busy trying to talk to me as an adult about various topics and all I want to do is get the seatbelt on my son.
We've had this experience before, as I've mentioned. The father laughs and says, "oh it's not that long a trip...it's just a short distance...it's not necessary for the short trips." This is a common thing I've seen in this neighborhood of privilege. Mamans and Papas piling toddlers and youngsters into Mini Coopers, Fiat 500s (original and new versions), Porsches (original and SUV versions) and other small cars. It's like a way to cling to their childhood, or to continue the tradition of their upbringing (the French Way), or demonstrate this act of civil disobedience (which the French LOVE to perform in a variety of ways).
Either way, I find it unsettling and I've told my son we will not be riding with them again because it's not safe. Thankfully I have a son who seems to err on the side of caution too. Of course I am well aware he could make up for all this in his later years, but I'll take any cautiousness I can get! :)