Sometimes the worst stories have happy endings that still don't make us feel any better, and the story of the 7-year-old boy who was thrown off a cruise ship by his own father is one of those for me.
The boy was on a day cruise with his family in California when he started acting up. The father, Sloane Briles, 35, was arrested after hitting his son and throwing him off the boat in front of a crowd of people. He told him he needed to "toughen up." The child, who wasn't a strong swimmer, was saved by a life belt, but his father did jump in after him.
The fall was only five feet and the father did jump in after him, but it's still completely inexcusable. Charlie Maas, who oversees the tour company, told the AP:
Right in the middle of a sunny weekend afternoon in August, there is a lot of boat traffic out there. That could have been fatally dangerous.
Even if the kid were a swimmer with Olympic potential, what he did was wrong, cruel, and really quite terrifying.
This summer, my 3-year-old son was in a life vest and was wading in shallow water when he suddenly went in face first. It was only 10 seconds at most between the time when I saw him and when my husband got to him. He hadn't even inhaled water. But those seconds live in my brain like they were 10 minutes. For weeks after, I had nightmares where we couldn't get to him and I woke in a panic.
There is no doubt that my biggest fear in the world is my children drowning. I can't think of a more scary way to lose them or one in which I could be filled with more guilt. Since our scary incident, my son has been in swim lessons twice a week and he is making major strides toward becoming a swimmer.
It's hard for me to imagine this boy's mother (who wasn't on the boat with the father and his girlfriend). If I were her, I would never want my son to see his father again. The fact is, every day when we're outside, we take risks. Our kids go to the park and they're at risk for falls, scrapes, bruises, and lord knows what else. Some risks are worth taking while others aren't.
Throwing a child off a moving boat isn't a risk worth taking. This father gambled with his son's life, and sure, he did the right thing by jumping in later, but so what? He can't be trusted to know right from wrong around his kids.
Do you think he should be allowed to see his kids?
Image via frostnova/Flickr