This is a story that has been making the rounds online. And boy, are people judging. Should we give these parents a break?
Sadly, parents leaving kids in hot cars has become an all-too-common phenomenon. But now comes the story of a mother who reportedly left her little boy in a corn maze. Overnight. And people haven't been this quick to judge a parent since the Harambe gorilla incident.
Here's what happened, according to local news station Fox 13 in Utah: Kendall Schmidt, Owner of Crazy Corn Maze in West Jordan, was alerted that a woman had discovered a 3-year-old boy alone in the maze. "He was upset and crying and really scared," Schmidt told Fox 13.
Um, yeah. Talk about traumatizing! But when Schmidt tried locating the child's parents, things got even weirder. "I took the blow horn out into the maze and was making announcements that if you had lost a child, please come to the front of the maze," he explained.
No one came to claim the terrified boy. In fact, according to Fox 13, hours went by. "A police officer took him to her car and got a movie going for him, showed him the movie Finding Dory," Schmidt recounted. Almost the entire movie played, and the boy's parents were not able to be reached.
It's sad, obviously. And it got even sadder. The maze closed, and police ended up taking the boy to the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Schmidt even texted the police officer at midnight and she still hadn't heard anything about the parents' whereabouts.
It was the next morning, 12 hours after he was found in the maze, before the boy's parents called the police. Now the DCFS is investigating the incident.
Ashley Sumner, Public Information Officer for the Division of Child and Family Services, offered this update on the investigation: "It's a process. We don't want to jump to any conclusions but we are also concerned mainly about the safety of the child."
Reportedly, the mom brought about 10 other children with her to the corn maze to claim the boy, so we don't know if it was a matter of multiple families living together, or exactly what the circumstances surrounding the incident are. But no matter how this happened, it's obviously easy to pile on and make a snap judgment about the parents. How could they lose track of their child? Overnight?
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I'm hard-pressed to conjure up a justifiable excuse for what transpired. But I want to wait and give this mom a chance to explain her side of the story before I form an opinion. Maybe she thought someone else was watching the boy. Who knows? What we do know is that the boy is safe, thankfully.
What is your take?
Melissa Willets is a writer, mom and coffee devotee. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.