After having your first child, you quickly realize there are two kinds of people in the world: those who are loving toward motherhood and children, and those who are unkind and cruel. Or maybe you already knew that.
Either way, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that a person was rude to a mother on a bus or a plane, right? But how about if that person got violent? So violent, in fact, that a young mother had to be hospitalized.
Horrified doesn't even begin to cover how I feel about this story.
A 36-year-old mother in the UK who is suffering from Lupus was on a crowded bus with her husband and child in a stroller. Another man with a stroller got on and didn't feel like she moved sufficiently to make room for him. He proceeded to verbally and then physically abuse her, banging her head into the ground while the passengers on the bus laughed. As a result, she suffered a miscarriage.
This is a version of "The Wheels on the Bus" I won't be singing to my 2-year-old. The people on the bus laugh and laugh at another person's pain?
Despicable. Hideous. Horrifying. But surprising? Sadly not. Because people do so many cruel and horrible things to one another and they're especially cruel and horrible when a child is in tow.
They can be wonderful, offering to help carry prams up stairs, holding the door open when they can see we're struggling. But they can also be ridiculously rude, loudly shushing our children on airplanes, cursing at them on the bus, and in some cases, even kicking at them. I once had a (childless) woman I was "friends" with tell me my child was an annoying brat at a restaurant.
There are Facebook groups dedicated to hating children and to banning them from public spaces. There are websites devoted to trashing parents. So, no, I'm not surprised that there would be people laughing at this woman's pain.
Obviously none of these things amount to violence, but they do add up to a lot of animosity against children in public places. If people think it's OK to make children-only flights and ban them from restaurants, is beating someone up on a bus for a large stroller really that different?
Clearly this man was crazy, but until everyone gets the memo that children are people too and their various objects -- large as they may be -- are part of their general existence, we will always be putting up with some level of animosity.
I long for the day when people who sneer at strollers on the sidewalk and roll their eyes as I struggle with my children in the supermarket are offered their own places to shop and only the nice ones are left.
Until then, let's at least hope this man who beat this poor woman is located and punished for his behavior.
Does this story surprise you?
Image via Facebook