Child Abuse

Bystanders Film A Mom Nodding Out On A City Bus But No One Thinks To Help Her Child

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city busA frightening video of a woman who seems to be on the verge of passing out while on a city bus in Philadelphia has been making the rounds today. In the video you can see the women’s young daughter, who seems nonplussed, trying to keep her mom awake.The assumption everyone is making is that the woman was “nodding out,” a term used to describe the sleepy, dopey state that heroin causes.The video is four and a half minutes long and has sparked outrage because no one on the bus thought to make a call to 911 or the transit police. Because who cares about a child’s safety when there are YouTube videos to be made, amirite? What the hell is wrong with people?

The video was posted to a Facebook page called “People of SEPTA” which makes fun of the characters you see on public transport in Northeast Philly, where it almost instantly went viral. What I don’t understand is how none of the people who witnessed this incident (including the wonderful example of humanity who took the four minute video instead of making sure the woman and her daughter were okay) thought to make a phone call to the authorities. Or at least let the driver know.

Thankfully both the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit and the Department of Human Services are each investigating the incident. According to some reports the police have been able to identify the woman and she’s being questioned, but authorities are understandably annoyed that no one alerted them sooner. According to DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose:

“While it is helpful that so many people emailed and called us after viewing the video, there were many people on the bus who witnessed this as it was occurring and took no action at all. Child abuse is a community problem, if you see or know that a child is being abused or neglected, you should report it immediately.”

People, when you see a child in trouble in public, you DO SOMETHING! And by something I don’t mean “take a four minute video to mock the parent on social media.” For all we know the woman was going into diabetic shock, or having a seizure, or experiencing any number of medical problems (yes, I know it seems to be confirmed that she was under the influence, but no one knew that at the time). Was this the effects of the the bystander effect? Are people just assholes? Probably a little of both.

*I considered whether or not to post the video, and decided against it since the woman is reportedly in custody and I feel no good can come from further embarrassing her. *

(Photo: Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com)