The happiest place on earth wasn't so happy for one little 22-month-old boy last week. Because he reportedly wouldn't walk like she wanted him to, Jessica M. Lewis was seen punching and kicking the boy -- right there in Disney World.
Fortunately, fellow park goers intervened, and police were called. The 22-year-old mother from New Orleans was arrested and is charged with child abuse, and hopefully she'll get the punishment and help she so clearly needs.
I know abuse happens all the time, but for someone to do it in public in such a violent manner is even more heartbreaking, and such a stark reminder of the violence that goes on behind closed doors every day when parents lose patience. I ache for this boy who had what was likely one of the best days of his life ruined.
I live minutes from Mickey's Kingdom in Florida, and I know that for all the joy the place brings, it also can be stressful. The lines, the heat, the sugar-fueled kids buzzing on adrenaline all make for prime meltdown conditions for parents and children. But it still always breaks my heart when I hear parents yelling or yanking a child this way or that, because these are the memories their children are going to carry with them for life.
We all lose our patience sometimes, but there's a line that just can't be crossed. I hope one day this boy gets to go back and experience all the magic with someone who loves him and will share the joy with him, instead of tainting the experience -- and his existence -- with such outrageous violence.
Have you ever witnessed child abuse in such a public place?
Image via @cdharrison/Flickr