Man Rescues Drowning Boy, Mom Accuses Him of Being a Pedophile

Dear Readers — Couldn’t help but post about this story, as it reminds us of the folly, no, the insanity of Worst-First Thinking. It’s a short letter, posted on Reddit, by a guy who saved a boy from drowning. When he got the kid to shore, the mom came screaming to leave her son alone!

Imagine if he’d done as she suggested. – L.

82 Responses

  1. Wow. I always think of my husband when these things happen. He’s such a good man and wonderful with kids but I’m sure there are people out there who would accuse him even if all he did was say hello to a kid at a park. He has told me how careful he feels he has to be around kids whereas just ten years ago, he didn’t feel that way. Careful as in not even looking their way lest he be accused of being a pedophile.

  2. The woman was obviously disturbed. I think he should consider pressing charges for verbal assault and whatever else the police might be able to charge her with.

    The story is actually pretty positive–the cops, lifeguards and eye witnesses all did the right thing.

  3. OK, so a woman gets to “press charges” even though there is no evidence that a crime was committed? That’s scary. But, my gut tells me that the actual risk of this happening to a good Samaritan is low enough that we should still help without hesitation (though it would be a good practice to attempt to get bystanders to witness what is (and isn’t) happening.

  4. Unfortunately, the woman is more normal than you think. I get more dirty looks in playgrounds from the 37 mothers within 5 feet of their 37 kids, even though my kids are there too.

    It’s quite funny actually. It’s like a school of fish, when they all have taht instinct to turn and scowl at once at approaching danger.

  5. I don’t know, at the same time consistently posting stories like this just makes us fear more. I’d like to see REAL statistics on this stuff just as much as the other things you post. This is also a worst first thinking… in the other direction, that if you help someone you will get arrested. Is it REALLY that common?

  6. I don’t think being arrested or being brought up on charges is common. However this isn’t new, people have been sued for doing CPR on other people, or helping someone cross the street who slipped and broke a hip. It’s completly stupid and it shouldn’t happend but it does, and just like being a free-range parent, it’s one of those things you have to take bad with the good. It wouldn’t stop me from offering aid to someone who may need it, or letting my children be free-range.

  7. Holy cow, the insanity….

  8. Just to note, Reddit is not a good source for this sort of thing – there was a post just today “My 7 y/o accused of sexual harrassment” that was shown to be a fake. Not to say anything about this particular one, but that site is rife with trolls.

  9. @jenna.. I’m the same way, I always think about my husband and how he wouldn’t hesitate. He’s a teacher, guidance counselor and marine. His first instinct is to help…
    We are lucky where we live though. There are actually a LOT of stay-at-home dads here so its not odd to see dads at the playground, pool, library, etc. Also the working dads are ridiculously involved. Here’s to two full time parents!

  10. Rich Wilson, thank you for that link! That is one of the best pieces of information I’ve ever read.

  11. There have been a few threads on here where men have expressed a hesitation to play or talk with or assist an unknown kid because of fear of being accused. Never a life threatening situation that I recall but still there has been more than one man stating fear of this kind of thing. Still, I have to agree with getfitwithtrisha. As much as we complain about worst-first thinking and sensationalized news stories we can not allow ourselves to swing the pendulum to extremes in the other direction. Hopefully posting these stories will begin conversations on other sites and when there is a need allow FRK readers to help a good samaritan or fellow parent in need.

    In this case, as Brian noted, the only one acting crazy was the mother (who if helicoptering would have known her son almost drown so even that is a little positive). With any luck she’ll calm down and realize what really happened and regret her actions. If the man had been charged I’d be on board with getting angry, but as it is presented I see it as a good story of a man doing the right thing and the cops and a witness standing up for him.

  12. Chilling.

  13. I’d like to point out that we have absolutely no way of knowing if this story is true or not.

  14. I hate to hear these type of stories. It makes me remember a 1 mile Kids Fun Run two years ago.
    My husband was running a marathon so the kids ran the race to kill some time. My older two ran by themselves but my youngest was not quite 3 decided she wanted to run but wanted me to stay with her. The older kids took off fast (most of the kids were 7+ years-old) and we ran at a turtle pace. We came upon a boy around 2 or 3 years-old who was crying hysterically with blood running from his mouth (he fell face first and busted his lip open). You couldn’t get into the race area from the sides, the only openings were at the start and finish. Other spectators were handing me tissues over the barriers to wipe up the blood. I tried holding his hand and walking him towards the finish line but he was so upset that I scooped him up and ran him to get him some medical care.
    When I got to the finish line, I asked him if he saw his mother anywhere. He was still crying (and I’m sure he needed stitches) and blood was all over my shirt from holding him. His mom made eye contact with me and said “Put him down! I want his picture crossing the finish line!”
    I walked him over to her and tried handing him over the barrier, but she wouldn’t take him! She said again, to put him down, she wanted the picture. I said “He’s injured. He may need stitches. You really want a picture of your son crying and covered with blood crossing a finish line?!” She called me some names, said how dare you, and I put her kid down and walked away.
    I will still always do the right thing, but sometimes people are assholes. I can’t imagine how this would have played out if it were a man helping the child.

  15. I’m rescueing the kid every time, potential accusation or not.

    I don’t think most people are like this lady. We visit all inclusive resorts regularly – and families mingle a lot in the pool, beach, etc. I’ve met several parents after meeting their kids first in a game of some sort in the pool and interacting with them (along with my own kids). I’ve not yet been given the dirty look. Maybe I have just been lucky.

  16. Joyfullness happens when you are rescuing your own kid and some busy body (usually a woman) comes screaming in to leave the kid alone. That has happened to my husband at least twice.

  17. Yeah sure, the guy could sue the mother, but how would that help the kid? It’s no better than pressing charges at someone who stops a kid from drowning.

  18. “However this isn’t new, people have been sued for doing CPR on other people, or helping someone cross the street who slipped and broke a hip. ”

    That’s true, but in those cases, there’s a claim that what the person did was done improperly and caused needless harm. It’s equally stupid, but at least in those cases there’s a claim that actual harm was done based on verifiable evidence — the cracked ribs or the broken hip. In this case (if it’s true) there’s legal action being brought based on the suspicion of someone’s motives apart from anything *that actually happened to anyone.* That’s new.

    I share the suspicion that this story may not be true, as it’s unverifiable and on a site known for wild stories, but I’m just pointing out the difference between “you were incompetent and now I’m hurt when I might not have been” and “you look funny/are the wrong sex to be within 50 feet of a child, you must be a criminal.”

  19. There was a case a while back in the UK where a man decided to not stop to check if a child needed help, for fear of being accused as a pedophile. The child later drowned. I’m trying to find the article, but my search terms are too general. I’m sure it’s bee on this site before- anyone know?

  20. Ok so clearly mummy didn’t see what happened, all she saw was her baby boy in the arms of a half naked man crying and clearly in distress. I get how that overreaction could happen but why the hell wasn’t mummy dearest watching her pride and joy while he was swimming in the sea? Isn’t that the whole point of parents accompanying their children to the beach?

  21. I feel it all the time. The stares and ugliness coming from mothers because I smiled and waved back when their kid smiled and waved at me first. I had a 9-ish year old girl walk up to me, totally out of the blue while I was in a SUbway with my wife and daughter the other day and start chatter-boxing about how her mom was pregnant with her new little sister and flowers were pretty and OH LOOK A SQUIRREL!!! as 9 YO girls are apt to do…

    Anyway, I held up my end of the conversation, asking if she was excited about her new sister and that I also liked flowers and so forth, and her mom eventually realized what was going on and came strutting over, mean-mugging me like I’ve never been mean-mugged in my life, as if I was activly trying to seduce her daughter right there in front of her.

    My wife, God bless her, called her a bitch and told her that if she “didn’t want my husband talking to her daughter that she should keep her on a leash!” The lady, clutching her pearls the whole way back to her table, had this look like “well, I NEVER!” and didn’t say a word.

    I just laughed and ate my sandwich. I can’t even imagine a more unimportant thing to get upset about than an adult having a polite conversation with your daughter. It is really getting old, folks. Really, really old

  22. Goober, I would have been more likely to be ticked at my kid for bothering other people. My “mean mommy” glare can be pretty scary. I sometimes have to remind myself not to scare nice people while correcting my kids.

  23. Heather G, I don’t see that as a positive at all. The whole hysteria about negligible what-ifs seems to often cause parents to lose all perspective on how to prioritise the safety risks. Not watching your young child like a hawk when they are in or near water is downright stupid because drowning is a very real risk indeed. I wonder if she feels like a good mother because she spotted the paedophile danger. Or maybe she was just hoping it would distract attention from the fact that she put her child in real danger.

  24. o my goodness, we’re like the premise of that disney movie, The Incredibles–all the superheroes had to go underground/witness protection/whatever, cause a suicidal lady sued one of the supers cause she didnt want to be saved, and then after the judge ruled in her favor, a bunch of other people started suing the superheroes.

    how about that, for art imitating life.

  25. @Craig: “I’m rescuing the kid every time, potential accusation or not.”

    I agree. If I’ve made the decision to help someone who is drowning, I’ve already accepted the possibility that I will be dragged under and drowned as well. (Drowning people tend to panic, and you have to be prepared for that.) Rescuing a child whose life is in danger is more important than my own life, and more important than the possibility of some crazy moron accusing me of wrong-doing.

    @Liz: “Ok so clearly mummy didn’t see what happened, all she saw was her baby boy in the arms of a half naked man crying and clearly in distress.”

    That makes sense, but the first reaction ought to be to find out what’s wrong, not jump to conclusions. That particular conclusion was especially odd, considering that a child is much more likely to drown than be molested at the beach.

  26. OMG, that is just insane!

    I’m going to go ahead and put this right out there…ATTENTION ALL PEDOPHILES, REAL AND IMAGINARY: If you see my kid drowning, please feel free to save her life. Just give her back to me once you’re out of the water and I won’t even complain.

  27. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7dfkZKjWSo Commentators can’t understand why no one would help this little girl, they discuss all kind of reasons, but never mention the fear of losing their own future.

    One woman initially said “I thought someone else would take the blame” and immediately corrected herself and said “take responsibility”

  28. this was very minor but last week similar thinking happened to me.

    we were at the modern art gallery at a kids interactive art. I have four children and they were sitting around a table building birds and nests. The chairs were a type of stool. My 9 year old was having difficulty with something and I moved around the other side of the table with my back turned.. My almost 3 year old on the other side leaned for some materials and subsequently the little stool fell out from under her and she fell over with a loud bang (no injury, just surprise and crying and hurt) I rush over to scoop her up and a lady near by says

    oh I totally saw that happening! But you know… shes not my kid…. so I couldnt really do anything…

    well thanks lady. I felt she implied that either i wasn’t keeping a good eye on my kids, or that she really felt that she couldnt help in anyway save what people think.

    I just said ‘thanks’ (for the caring thought) and moved on but afterwards I felt kinda sad. I felt i should have said something like ‘ oh please in the future dont hesitate. A busy mum loves all the help they can get’ or something.

  29. ““However this isn’t new, people have been sued for doing CPR on other people, or helping someone cross the street who slipped and broke a hip. ”
    That’s true, but in those cases, there’s a claim that what the person did was done improperly and caused needless harm. It’s equally stupid, but at least in those cases there’s a claim that actual harm was done based on verifiable evidence — the cracked ribs or the broken hip.”

    My CPR instructor informed me that there are now laws protecting people who have a CPR certified card because doing CPR correctly will crack the ribs. But what would you rather experience? Death or cracked ribs?

  30. That’s just nauseating!! The guy should sue for defamation of character!!

  31. Pentamom, your example about the cracked ribs with CPR is not a great example of things going “wrong.” When I took CPR yearly, years ago, the EMT teaching it said to expect that at times ribs WILL break, even when you are doing everything correct. She herself said that she had broken some ribs on some people in need of help. She felt bad, but felt that they were alive was best, even if in pain from the broken ribs. She basically said, if you break a rib, keep going. It is better than the alternative.

  32. If true, it’s pretty bad, but seriously… Reddit? I don’t think freerangekids should be in the habit of reposting Reddit stories.

  33. CrazyCatLady, correction noted. It was just an example. Substitute whatever else might be appropriate there.

  34. I like the one guy’s suggestion about the Roman calumnia law. Let the mother press charges and if her accusations are false, she gets to go to jail for as long a a convicted pedophile does.

  35. linvo, as we have no suggestion for how long the mother’s eyes were off the boy I’m not about to make any judgements about her prioritizing risk. The fact that the boy was allowed to be in the water at all, and that his mother wasn’t physically attached to him was positive. Assuming she wasn’t watching him carefully enough when we have no statement suggesting that is no more right than her assuming the man who saved her child was trying to harm him.

  36. I too was victim of afalse accusation of attempted molestation when I coached soccer. Although proven false, it ruined my reputation, and my 4 kids stopped playing sports. We finally had to move to another town.

  37. Off topic, but backs up Lenore’s comments re: “stranger danger”.

    Watching the news tonight, there was a story about a missing 6yo in Tuscon (I’m in MN, [eyeroll]). A detective (I think, I wasn’t paying close attention) made the comment “there are about 100 stranger abductions per year, and I’ve NEVER seen one where the kidnapper did not have SOME CONNECTION to the home.” (emphasis mine).

    I tried to find the video, but our local station did not have it online. It may have been on Nightline, which is national, but they did not have tonight’s video up yet.

  38. Sounds like the mother was trying to take the focus off the fact she wasn’t watching her kid at the beach… Does anyone else ever wish they could slap stupid people?

  39. The story that preceded this on Reddit was pretty nauseating as well – the student who held the door for a two-year-old girl at Starbucks, and smiled back at her as she walked through, only to be accosted by the Uber-Mommy and accused of being a pedophile. FOR HOLDING THE DOOR.

  40. @Rich Wilson: I looked it up the last time it was mentioned as well, it is not easy to find 🙂 I was surprised to see it happened in 2002, 10 years ago. I think this means it is one of those things that happens very rarely to this extreme, but is still a relevant example of the general feeling of fear of false accusations.
    This is a link to an op-ed. during the inquest
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/3352895/Day-of-the-dad-paedophilia-hysteria-leaves-men-afraid-to-help.html

    WRT Reddit, I agree we don’t know if it really happened or not, much the same as we don’t know if anecdotes given on THIS site are real. For that matter, I don’t always believe bona fide media sites are giving me the whole truth. That said, it is certainly plausible and I think it is good to discuss these situations. Hypothetical or not, it is good to figure out what went wrong and what we could do differently. At the same time we need to keep in mind that these are extreme examples and the real world is not as bad as either this site or the media could make us believe.

  41. Interestingly, Fox News also did an op-ed at the time about the British drowning and the pedophilia hysteria.
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,190586,00.html

  42. Did anyone read all the follow-up comments on Reddit… the number of young men (the predominant demographic on reddit)
    who pointed out that due to fear of loosing their future (accusation, charges, gaol time etc) most of them would NOT have helped the boy.
    Regardless of the validity of the story, the sentiment is frighteningly sad.
    I sincerely hope that I raise my boys to kow that doing the right thing is the right thing, because it is *the*right*thing*

  43. What is the right thing? The question on a married-with-children man’s mind is almost always going to be “What is the potential damage to my family?”

    The fallout from a false accusation doesn’t just affect the man. It affects his wife and children for years to come. And most men are *very* aware of this.

    So, how do I weigh the seemingly high probability of the (possibly venal) destruction of my family’s quality of life against a strangers life? It’s not a simple numbers game.

  44. What are the actual stats of people being wrongly accused and/or charged when acting as a good samaritan? I’m curious if the media is doing the same thing as it does with “stranger danger”

  45. I feel really sad as a mom that this women left a horrible experience on this man, because we need to stay grounded when something happens to our children, I think she had to focus more on the negative and accuse this man of being a pedophile, than trying to explain her whereabouts when her child was drowning, she’d radther ignore being thankful and grateful for helping her son to this man, it’s all sad because she’s teaching her son the wrong attitude towards kindness.

  46. What a biaaatch! Seriously, I wish there was a law to protect people from these things. In this day and age of paranoia, so many people often jump the gun, and others are left to face the consequences of someone else’s actions. How many stories have we heard of a good samaritan getting shafted for doing the right thing? I think the accuser needs to face some sort of reprimand for making false accusations and charges without proof. Especially when the accused is backed by witnesses proving the accusations are false. People can be charged for making false calls to 911. I can’t see it being any different in case like this. There’s gotta be something to be said about a woman who is less concerned about her child almost drowning, and more intent on freaking out about a guy who just saved her kid. This guy did the right thing, he saved a life. I just hope that stories like this don’t make others hesitant when put in the same situation. However, what he should have done was call out for help, yell “someone is drowning” before running in. At least this way people will look. Now you have more than one witness, at the same time you alert the life guards.

  47. There was the case where a man didn’t pick up a stray toddler who had wandered out of a daycare because he was afraid he’d be accused of abduction. The child died. This is so crazy. I feel hopeless sometimes reading this stuff. Really Bad Mum – I like that you are pointing out maybe the media blows this stuff (mistaken identity – good samaratin / pedophile) out of proportion just to get ratingss?

  48. Actually you can do something…. Defamation of character, if they make the accusations then they need to be able to prove it…. bet the stupid bitch wouldn’t be able to! ( still wishing I could slap stupid people)

  49. @Rachel, I’m pretty sure it isn’t a regular thing in Australia, but people fear getting sued because of the horror stories… But we generally tend to help each other here coz it’s the Aussie way… I just hope it stays that way

  50. Wow…in our quest to make children as safe as possible, we have made people less likely to try to protect them. Irony on an epic scale.

  51. So, basically, we have parents het up about the possibility of kidnappers and pedophiles, feeding into the negative attitudes of men who feel persecuted, and around and around it goes. Meanwhile kids who are really in trouble might not get help they need.

    This mess will take at least a generation to sort out. I hope I will see more healthy attitudes on both sides by the time I die.

  52. Neil M, YES. Hallelujah and Amen. That’s exactly it for me. In the name of protection and safety, we are employing strategies (being suspicious, refusing help, creating laws that support an atmosphere of fear of contributing to others) that actually work AGAINST protection and safety! Might be wise to take a few giant steps back and look objectively at what is going on, and what needs are being met or not met…

  53. @ Really Bad Mum: Yes, one can go to court for that. But that’s a whole lot of work and money, many would not bother with. Because of ignorant people like that boy’s mother, it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. So much problems because of something as simple as ignorance and no common sense. And as I’ve said in the past…perverted thoughts, come from perverted minds. So one has to think about all these parents with constant thoughts of perverted things happening to their children. And I can tell you know, fear is just the outcome of those thoughts, not the symptom.

  54. And yes…I wish I could slap stupid people too. lol

  55. If anyone accused me of something so heinous, in such a public way I would be going straight to legal aid if i couldn’t afford a lawyer…. Normal people need to stand up against the crazies that slander and destroy lives,
    LOL we need ‘National Slap a Stupid Person Day’

  56. […] Man Rescues Boy, Mom Accuses Him of Being a Pedophile […]

  57. WHo has time to think about whether they would or would not save a drowining kid while it is happening? My guess is that all those guys saying that they wouldn’t do so haven’t ever been in a situation like that, because I have, and I know that I would have done it without even thinking about the ramifications. Someone needs help. Help them.

    After the fact, when the Mom started throwing out accusations, I may even feel remorse for having helped, and I’d feel fear for my family and my future, but all that is a hindsight issue – you don’t think about stuff like that as it happened. YOu react.

    Which makes it all the much more sad, because this guy could have been ruined for reacting.

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  59. Really Bad Mum, I don’t think you can bring a lawsuit over what someone says to you in a one-on-one conversation. Defamation of character applies when there is someone *to whom* your character is defamed, other than yourself, and generally only when it has some demonstrable public effect (e.g. loss of job, reputation, etc.) It’s not for just getting insulted at the the beach, no matter how appallingly.

  60. Sorry @Goober, I *have* been in such a situation and been accused. My son has been falsely accused as well for other acts. I have learned, and I teach my boys, to be aware of the possible situations at any given moment and plan appropriately.

    Any mother who is with her child who is behaving in any way erratic–which includes obvious frustration with a child’s behavior–is automatically suspect and should be treated as a possible danger.

    Any woman (including teenager) who is with her friends and acting out is a possible danger.

    There are other examples.

    If you decide beforehand, when the moment arrives you won’t have to decide.

  61. @pentamom, The term defamation of character is often used to describe accusations of slander, libel or both. Slander involves verbal derogatory statements, while libel involves written ones. In a court of law, the plaintiff pursuing the lawsuit would charge defamation of character to cover any form of false or damaging allegations. ( love my copy paste skills lol) you have an even better chance if they get u arrested…

  62. I only just realise that the kids was 8 or 9, so now I understand why the mother may not have been watching him that closely. Bit strange that the kid sank so fast though as you would expect them to be able to swim if they are surfing – unless they got dumped by a big wave.

    I do suspect these cases are also rarer than the media or interweb tries to make it appear. But just like with the stranger danger fear, the more people give in to this fear and let it control their actions, the more it will spread like a cancer.

  63. “OMG, that is just insane!

    I’m going to go ahead and put this right out there…ATTENTION ALL PEDOPHILES, REAL AND IMAGINARY: If you see my kid drowning, please feel free to save her life. Just give her back to me once you’re out of the water and I won’t even complain.”

    Perspective! great answer.

    Do people really think a perv is going to grab their child in the water of a public beach, carry them to shore and molest them on the way in, around tons of other people? Think people. Its just as crazy and stupid as it sounds. Not so say there isn’t a few crazies out there…but the odds have to be similar to winning powerball.

  64. linvo, I suspect that the kid couldn’t actually swim, and, the parent, not knowing the bottom of the lake/river/ocean, didn’t know that there was a sudden drop off. I have been in places where the water was 2 feet deep for a long ways, then suddenly goes to 8 or more. But people tend to think that the floor will go in a gradual slope, when in fact, currents alter the bottom.

  65. Maybe in the US it’s different but in Australia kids learn to swim before they learn to walk…. but even the strongest swimmers know how dangerous the ocean is. I think this stupid women did what every parent has done at one time or another and made a mistake and instead of admitting it she put the attention on someone else, which seems to be a trait of helicopter parents who will never admit they screwed up.

  66. Really Bad Mum, the point is, no defamation occurs if nobody else hears you say or write or whatever, the defamatory statements. Defamation of character isn’t just saying mean things; it has to have the potential to hurt someone in the face of others with the power to do so. Just yelling at someone isn’t defamation of character, even if it’s really mean and really untrue.

  67. yeah but calling someone a paedophile in a public place where people can hear counts…. if it was in a private house just the 2 of them then it wouldn’t count. She didn’t just yell she called him something that could have landed him in trouble with the law, cost his job, got him bashed etc… I’m pretty sure there would be a case because of the public location she said he was involved in a criminal activity that is character assassination. We need to ask a lawyer lol

  68. Lawyer here and I agree with pentamom – defamation is more than just saying bad things where people might hear. First, people need to actually hear. Second, you need damages – people have to believe the statement and this causes you to suffer in some way (job loss, standing in community, etc). It doesn’t matter what someone calls you if nobody believes it and acts accordingly.

  69. As for the story itself; I’d bet money that it is not true. However, I still think that it speaks volumes about society today.

    First that strangers, in general, and strange men, in particular, are so vilified that we do believe something like this could happen, whether it did in this instance or not. While I the details given do not ring true to me, I definitely don’t think it’s completely implausible.

    Second that so many men seem to have thought about this and already think that they would not help even in a drowning situation. Whether they truly would help if faced with this situation is a different story as I think many of them would rather than watch a child die, but is it telling that in the abstract so many say that they would not. Our fathers would have thought their questioner crazy if they had been asked if they would help a drowning boy because the answer would have been so clearly “yes.” Today’s men are more hesitant to say yes. And it’s not the men and their desire to help that has changed but the society that they live in.

  70. Donna thanks… would u happen to know if Australian law is the same…. it seems so wrong that someone can publicly say something so bad and there is nothing u can do…. I propose a “stupid people MUST be bitch-slapped” law…. LOL

  71. Lawyer here and I agree with pentamom – defamation is more than just saying bad things where people might hear. First, people need to actually hear. Second, you need damages – people have to believe the statement and this causes you to suffer in some way (job loss, standing in community, etc). It doesn’t matter what someone calls you if nobody believes it and acts accordingly.

    And doesn’t it also have to be false? If I call you a kitten-eating bank robber and you ARE a kitten-eating bank robber, can you really sue?

  72. This is not just an issue for men.

    Years ago I used to take my two young kids to a neighborhood park in Chicago that had a wonderful, complex wooden play structure. Kids from all over congregated there to use it. It could be hard to ‘follow’ your child in it, because the space in much of it was just to narrow for an adult–esp if tall or big–to navigate.

    Anyway, one day a child, quite young, maybe two or three, wandered up to me in tears, sobbing, and seeming panicky. I realized he had become separated from his parent, or sitter so I held his hand and stood about with him on the perimeter of the play area, looking for his parent. He calmed down. Finally, a young, foreign-looking father rushed up to us, yanked the child from my hand, and rushed off with him. The little one seemed to recognize him, so I thought this must be his father. How could I know? No thank you, no questions, no acknowledgment given to me at all. Just a glare, and off they went.

    Incidentally, I was at that time a hard working young mother out with her kids…The picture of predatory evil!

    Much more recently, I was crossing the lawn of a community center in a well-heeled Chicago suburb to attend an event for women. I was somewhat dressed up, in good spirits, looking forward to an afternoon meeting with women my age (mid-life) that I enjoy. The community center houses a day care center for very young children who were out enjoying the afternoon on the grass. A little girl ran up to me the way some toddlers will, and greeted me sweetly. I couldn’t help but smile and say hello back, of course.

    Then I noticed a young day care worker crossing the lawn rapidly, looking at me angrily, coming to retrieve the child. I said hello to her, and she scowled at me.

    What can one say?

  73. Uly, yep; it definitely has to be false.

    Really bad mom, don’t know about Australia law but I would guess that the part about there needing to be some kind of damage to your reputation is the same. Why does it matter what people call you if nobody believes it?

  74. Reblogged this on Just Another Blog by Jen and commented:
    I just have no words for this amount of crazy.

  75. If you want to see the real world consequence of the demonizing of men interacting with children, look no further than your local elementary school. There is an extreme lack of male teachers, administrators, or staff, all because they *might* be a pedophile in disguise. Men are afraid to enter the profession for fear of false accusations.

    To paraphrase a folk song…

    where have all the men gone? Gone from teaching everyone one. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn.

  76. In the US, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children produced a set of guidelines about “What Should You Do If You See A Child Who Appears To Be Lost?” Among other things, they mentioned a series of steps that included comforting the child without physically touching them, asking the child about whether their parent or guardian is nearby, and seeking help from other adults to report the incident to a person in authority while waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Among other things, it was advised that the child not be transported to a different location-this probably makes sense. Depending on how one looks at things, the situation might be trickier in an outside area where dangers are not far off. Nothing was said about men versus women approaching a child. (In comparison, there was an issue in Wales (UK) concerning guidelines where at least one community safety officer advised men to not approach lost children. For details, see the WalesOnline.co.uk article “Men are advised not to approach lost children” (July 24, 2006) by Rhodri Clark.)To be sure, it may be that many persons simply do not consider the situation of how to deal with a “lost” child, given that such a situation may not come up in an expected manner.

  77. I had a couple of appointments today, quite a distance from home. Between them I stopped at a drive thru to get lunch. I parked at a nearby park to eat. About 20 minutes after I got there, I was suprised to have a police car block me in and an officer asking me to get out of the car. He had received a call from a parent who’s kids were playing there about a strange man sitting in a parked car. After he ran my drivers licence through the computer I was free to go with the advice that I eat my lunch somewhere else.

  78. Seems to me mother should be charged. I think she was hoping her son drowned. She apparently stood aside and did nothing. I would never help a child. The mother is paid to do it but if she cannot be bothered she has no time for the child always believe in gaoling them for life for neglect. Trouble is they cry to the Police and get their photo in the media for sympathy and get away with it.

  79. […] taken me a while to properly catch up on Lenore Skenazy’s recent articles, but this kind of perverted attitude really grips my shit, so it’s worth […]

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