Should Parents Pick Up After Their Kids in Public Places? Hint: The Answer is Yes.

A Major League Baseball pitcher is getting pulled back down to earth after blasting United Airlines for asking his pregnant wife to clean up after their kid's mess.

A toddler eats a snack while traveling on an airplane.

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Vacation season is coming up, and Twitter would like all parents to remember to pick up their kids' Cheerios...or popcorn. Even if they're pregnant. Even if they're married to a major league baseball player. Even on an airplane.

How did we get here exactly? It all started when Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass, who has a 7.11 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched in 2023, blasted United Airlines on Twitter for asking his wife to clean up after their child.

"The flight attendant @united just made my 22-weeks-pregnant wife traveling with a 5-year-old and 2-year-old get on her hands and knees to pick up the popcorn mess by my youngest daughter. Are you kidding me?!?!" Bass tweeted to his nearly 30,000 followers.

No, T-Fish (apparently his nickname), the attendant was not kidding. And Twitter has the attendant's back. The comments section is utterly scorching, with big names calling Bass' public complaint, complete with a photo of his small children, a swing and a miss.

"To this guy's 12 fans—It is cringe for whichever parent first took photos to complain on social media rather than just picking up after their own kids," responded Ryan Marino, M.D., a doctor with nearly 90,000 followers who regularly discusses fentanyl but took a break to clap back at an MLB player with about a third of his following.

"This is the most pretentious, arrogant, self-absorbed tweet of all time. How dare parents have to clean up after their children's mess? Good God, the more athletes tweet, the more I really don't want to watch professional sports anymore," wrote Washington Examiner journalist Christopher Tremogile.

People without blue checks joined in the chorus of boo-birds.

"Genuinely curious, who should clean up the mess your 2-year-old made? As a parent of three kids, I am the one responsible for them," one user noted. Bass actually responded to this one—and he probably shouldn't have.

"The cleaning crew they hire!" Bass wrote.

Some kind soul who runs United Airlines' Twitter account reached out, valiantly trying to douse the flames. "Hi there, Anthony. We certainly understand your concern, and we'd like to look into this. When you have a moment, please DM your wife's confirmation number along with any additional details regarding her interaction with this crew member," the United rep tweeted.

Bass himself later tweeting out that United is "taking care of matters with the flight attendant internally." But why should they even have to?

Mrs. Bass' sister, singer Jessie James Decker, presented a different side to the story on Instagram.
"My sister @sydneyraebass just texted me from her flight on @united. As you know, she is five months pregnant, high-risk, and also traveling alone with her two small children. Blaire accidentally spilled some popcorn in the aisle, and the flight attendant came up to Sydney with a trash bag and a wet wipe, telling her the captain wants Syd to clean up every drop.”

That all sounds unfortunate. Still, pregnancy isn't (usually) a medical emergency. And if Bass' wife's pregnancy was, it's safe to say she wouldn't be able to flyPosting pictures of your kids on social as you rip an attendant who probably makes way less than you do is also big-time cringe. But the entitled attitude is a bit much.

There's been a bunch of chatter about kids on planes lately. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA reportedly wants children under 2 to have their own, paid-for seat rather than being allowed to sit on a parent's lap for free or at a reduced cost, citing safety concerns. But look at the Travel & Leisure social media post with the story, and you'll see plenty of commenters telling parents of young kids to just stay home. In late December, the New York Times ran a piece that, in part, allowed people to air their grievances about babies flying first-class, where they can disrupt higher-paying customers.

I don't find either of these to be particularly kind. I'm not keen on getting on a flight with my toddler and 3-year-old either, but we'll finally be taking our first vacation since the pandemic this year (road trip). Getting away with your kids to see family, the world, or daddy play baseball is important to people, and passengers could stand to have more empathy for parents trying their best to navigate hard-to-predict kids' moods.

But spare me the idea that someone can't pick snacks up off the floor. Flight attendants aren't our personal housekeepers. If your kid makes a mess, set an example and help clean it up—even if you're pregnant. Or better yet, have your kids help clean up their own mess. Airline attendants have borne the brunt of a lot of nonsense over the last several years, from having to enforce mask mandates to pandemic furloughs, not to mention plenty of cranky passengers. With things loosening up, they don't need to add angry MLB pitchers losing their cool on social media to their lists of things to worry about. Pregnancy isn't an excuse to be rude, nor is playing pro ball. Swing higher next time, Bass family.

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