If you haven't seen the video of a young mother falling asleep on a Philadelphia city bus yet, prepare to get angry. Shot by a fellow bus passenger, the video shows a mom who appears to be addicted to drugs doing what police refer to as heroin nod while her young daughter tries desperately to wake her up. YouTube viewers are demanding en masse for the mother to have her child taken away from her, and the video surely makes it seem like this woman is unfit to care for her kid.
But is the alleged drug addict mother the biggest monster on the SEPTA bus? Let's talk, for just a second, about this video.
But first, let's watch.
Upsetting? Shocking. Indeed.
My heart breaks for that little girl, and my fists shake at the people on that bus, including the person who shot the video.
See, with Philly authorities stepping in to investigate, the video "might" help this child. But that doesn't seem to be the intention of the video at all.
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In fact, according to most reports, the videographer didn't call police or CPS to share their footage. Instead this video was posted on the People of Septa Facebook page. People of Septa is not an official Facebook page maintained by city officials or the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. In fact there's virtually no information about the page's administrators, aside from a brief description: "What the El?!" The page seems to be made up primarily of posts poking fun at people, akin to the wildly popular (and extremely offensive) People of Wal-Mart Facebook page.
From this information alone, we can deduce that the person shooting the video cared more about making fun of the mom than they did the little girl's safety.
And what of the other passengers? At one point I thought I heard someone ask the mom if she was alright, but I couldn't be sure if they were talking to her or not -- she's too out of it to respond. There were a few folks who seemed to try to wake her up, but gave up when the attempts were unsuccessful.
It's hard to get involved in someone else's business; I get that. It can even be a little scary. But there's a child here! Didn't someone care more about the kid than their own fear?
What I didn't see in this video was anyone step in in earnest to help the mom or the little girl. Here she is trying to hold her mother's head up, and she can't be more than 5 or 6. She shouldn't have that kind of responsibility, and yet no one offered assistance? No one said, hey, lady, let's get you to a hospital. No one called 911.
In fact, Philly Department of Human Services said they didn't get any calls until AFTER the video went viral, when people recognized the mom.
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But not before? What would have happened if the video didn't catch fire? If no one saw it? This little girl could still be living this life, with a mom who is seemingly addicted to heroin, and seemingly completely unfit to parent. And that would be on the folks on that bus who did nothing, didn't even tell the driver!
The mom may be the one facing possible criminal charges here, but in the global village responsible for raising our children, she's far from the only one falling short here.
Put yourself on that bus. What would YOU have done?
Image via Paul Sableman/Flickr