Parents Shamed on Internet for Leaving Baby in Restaurant Booth
(Via The Daily Mail)
A pair of new parents find themselves the source of viral Internet shaming this week after they attempted to go to a buffet restaurant for dinner and wound up unintentionally starring in a viral video about “bad parenting.”
According to the Daily Mail, a man named Shannon Culley from Sandusky, Ohio, was eating at the China Dragon Buffet restaurant when a young couple came in with a baby in a car seat. They sat down in the booth across from Culley, then went to the buffet to get their food.
Upon seeing that, Culley whipped out his cell phone and started filming the baby as it sat in its car seat. Culley can be heard grumbling in the video about how the parents just left their baby there and weren’t watching it. He calls them “morons” and says “fucking” and grumbles a lot, and across the table the lady he’s eating with is just casually eating her food. Neither of them actually moves. Then he posted the video to Facebook, where it took off and was viewed more than four million times. Culley told his audience that the parents were gone for four minutes, so apparently he was timing them as well as recording their baby.
After the video went viral, it came to the attention of police, who decided to investigate the parents for child endangerment.
The mother argues that Culley specifically angled the phone so she couldn’t be seen in the frame with the baby, and that she was actually close to the table and she had her eye on the baby the whole time. She also says that he was in his car seat and tucked into the table so he couldn’t have wriggled or moved away.
The parents’ restaurant-going technique was not exactly optimal. Dining out with a small baby often benefits from parents tag-teaming the situation. One hits the buffet while the other watches the baby, and then the other goes to the buffet when the first one gets back. It’s not ideal–I don’t think I actually managed to eat at a table with my husband until my kid was 18 months old–but tag-teaming gets the job done.
That said, Culley sounds like a real asshole. Who videotapes someones’ baby and posts it to Facebook so everyone can shame their parenting? If he were actually concerned about the baby, he would have done something else. He could have helped. He could have talked to the parents. He could have called the police. Instead, he pulled out his phone and made a grumbly video to post on his social media accounts.
$20 says this is a guy who grumbles about Millennials and their phones and their narcissistic selfies, too.
Even the police think Culley was wrong to have made the video if he were so concerned about the baby. They say that if he were worried about the baby, he should have called 911.
“Especially when we’re talking about a child and the welfare of a child, call the police,” police chief Ken Klamar said.
Culley didn’t call 911 though. The police found out about this when the video went viral on Facebook, because the guy with the camera didn’t really care about the welfare of the baby, he just cared about shaming the parents. That’s the only reason for making a grumbly old man video and posting it to Facebook so a bunch of backseat drivers could criticize some strangers and feel superior without actually getting off their chairs to do anything useful.
Hell, virtually this same thing happened to a mother I knew. She had a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old, and that’s not a good recipe for sleep or good judgment at the best of times. It was after church and there was a coffee and snack thing going on, so the exhausted mom plopped the 6-month-old in a chair and turned around to get a cup of coffee. She was only a few feet away, but still, it’s not a good idea to put a 6-month-old unrestrained in an adult-sized chair and turn your back on it.
That was way more dangerous than leaving the baby tucked in its car seat at the restaurant booth, but when that mother turned around there was a nice older lady sitting next to the baby.
“Why don’t I just sit here and keep an eye on her so she doesn’t roll off?” the nice lady said gently, while the mom was thinking, “Wait, did I just leave a 6-month-old sitting on a chair by herself? WTF?”
That older lady saw something and decided to help, which is a completely different impulse than seeing something and deciding to keep one’s ass in one’s chair and film a video of “bad parenting” to share on Facebook.