Who’s the asshole – the mom who left her baby in the car, or the person who called the police?
It might seem like there’s a clear-cut answer — don’t leave your baby in the car, ever. But sometimes for parents, it’s not that simple. Or is it? Well, a viral Reddit post has the internet divided over who the “asshole” really is in the “Am I The Asshole” subreddit.
The post (which has since been locked on Reddit, but remains active on Twitter) shares the story from the perspective of a person who called the police on a mother who left her sleeping infant in the car while she went inside a store very briefly.
— Am I the Asshole? (@AITA_reddit) November 22, 2019
The original poster (OP) says they were at a grocery store when they saw a woman leaving her car and going into the store with her toddler (estimated to be about one or two years old) still in the backseat.
“I said ‘Oh hey, ma’am, your kid is still in there,'” the OP writes. “She said ‘Thanks for your concern, but I’ll only be a minute,’ and kept walking away.” They write they were “stunned” at the mom’s actions, and couldn’t escape the thought of something happening to the child. So the OP walked up to the mom and advised her against leaving the baby in her car, regardless of how fast she planned on being while inside the store.
The mom apparently turned to the OP and said, “You’re clearly young, you might think you know everything about parenting and raising a kid, but someday when you have a baby you’ll have a day like this and realize how ridiculous it is to wake a sleeping baby when you’re just running in to buy one thing.”
The mother told the OP that she “didn’t have to explain” because it wasn’t anyone else’s business, and went inside the store. The OP says they stood outside “uneasily” for a minute or two, then decided to call 911. The police arrived about five minutes after the call — just as the mother was emerging from the store.
“I spoke with police and gave a statement, but she was hysterically crying, saying she was just in there for a minute and why was it a police matter, etc.,” the post reads. The OP asks readers to weigh in on whether they were right in this situation, or whether they were — you guessed it — the asshole.
The internet stands pretty divided. Many people — most of them fellow parents — didn’t agree that the police needed to be involved.
YTA 100%. I imagine this woman to have a Karen haircut and likes speaking to the manager.— A ſmal catte be cleped a kitoun (@BeerBottleBlond) November 22, 2019
Don’t call the cops unless there’s literally no alternative. She was 100% wrong to leave her child in the car like that, but this could cause her to lose custody & never see her kid again. Good intentions but the consequences could be catastrophic so YTA, albeit unintentionally.— Adam (@adam_allouba) November 22, 2019
YTA. The baby is sleeping, and no one, really, no one at the grocery store wants to have to put up with a crying baby. Also cops are bad, always, unless someone is perpetrating a real crime. The lady was gone for 10mins, tops. It's not the middle of summer, so everything's fine.— ewen is a whore for inuyasha (@e_b0t) November 22, 2019
Holy shit, obviously YTA. If you're that concerned, stay by the car yourself, but don't call the cops on someone.— The resurrection will not be televised (@votarycannon) November 22, 2019
Others were all in favor of the OP’s actions, just generally shaming the mom for her actions.
NTA, obviously. I'm amazed that there's already a few replies trying to defend the mom. You don't do that. You just don't.— . (@JBellEoL) November 22, 2019
NTA. She was in there long enough for cops to be called and arrive. If it was ‘one thing’ she’d have been back before you even got off the phone.— Jen (@kikiandkyle) November 22, 2019
NTA. The fact she got annoyed at you for showing concern and still leaving the baby alone makes her TA. She had a chance to do the right thing and did not. She probably got a fine and was sent on her way. Doubt she’ll make the same mistake again.— ⓩⓞⓔⓐⓝⓝⓔ (@Whoa_Zoe) November 22, 2019
Some people can see both sides of the asshole coin, here.https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/1197878404105801730
Mom could have fully intended to come right back, but shit happens. Maybe the checkout line is really long, or mom slips in the store. As a parent, I would never do what mom did. But if I was in OP's position, I don't know that I would call the cops either. No easy answer.— Brad (@bradjective) November 22, 2019
There really is no easy answer here. Calling the cops can lead to implications that weren’t intended — deportation, putting custody of the child in jeopardy, etc. Not taking any action can lead the anxious mind of a stander-by to go berserk with (very valid) “what ifs.” Perhaps just standing by the car themselves to alleviate their concerns would have been the better way to go — but we’ll never know.