Well, it's starting to make a buzz on twitter and on a few parenting forums I visit, but for those not in the loop, a mother has recently come under fire for telling an inaccurate story of what has happened to her at an airport. She is a fairly popular blogger and posted about how TSA airport staff removed her baby from her sight to assess the security risk of a soother clip she had left fastened on him and set off the metal detectors. Her blog post was filled with heart wrenching emotion and scared the heck out of any mother. It was quickly circulated and made the round on most mom networks I am a part of and I received the information via one of my many BFFs on twitter. I did my part, I got very upset reading her account, twittered about it, posted on a few forums, told all my mom friends and anyone who'd listen. I nattered on about it at a dinner party last night.
A day or two later, TSA released CC film of what happened. The video and her story did not meet. Crap!
The mom has been facing some particularly nasty backlash. Especially after posting her explanation, which to me was kinda weird. Some of it is not right, though I can understand the anger, name calling, and nastiness is just uncalled for.
I started wondering why this affected me so much. Normally I don't believe everything that I read or take everything at face value. I'm not cynical to the point where I won't help someone, I'm often giving out spare change, carrying bags for others, what have you. I do like to know what I'm getting into though if I had my choice.
This also coincided this week with that family in Colorado, who claimed that their boy was up in a balloon unsupervised, only to find out it was a big hoax. But everyone bought it hook line and sinker, only to be outraged that their emotions were taken for a joy ride.
The only similarity I can draw between the two stories is that these are parents. Parents who have sounded the alarm that their kids were in trouble or mistreated or distressed in any way. Many of us being parents or just having some instinctual program wired into us to be concerned for little ones, didn't ask questions, we didn't stop to think that these might be stories. Because who would ever lie about their child being in danger or mistreated? Isn't there enough bad things in the world happening to children that we don't need to fabricate more? Heck, I'd be terrified even to feign a cold in my little guys to miss a playdate or too early swimming lessons, because then they might pick up the fly (yes, that is my insane logic). So of course assuming everyone thinks the same way I do and doesn't want to use their child as a point of a great big fabrication, I just figure they're telling the truth.
Well this time, I ended up with egg on my face. I felt wronged, angry, annoyed, I felt like closing off and never ever believing any story ever again. Hmph! But in the end, I can't do that. I actually refuse to do that. I know that sometimes when I give money to a person on the street, they're going to make a poor choice with it, but I also know someone who might go and buy a coffee or a slice of pizza. I cannot risk shutting those people out for others who make bad choices. I cannot shut other people with their legitimate needs and requests for help and support because of the actions of some goofs who told some stories for whatever reason. I will not allow them that power over me. Because as much as I don't like being taken for a ride, I can accept it's a risk I take for making a quick judgment to help others when I don't have the time or resources to thoroughly investigate. I imagine to some I'm sounding like I'm just going to continue walking in willy nilly with my support, left right and centre, but it's not normally the case....really! I like helping people who legitimately need it. I like that all warm and gooey feeling inside, but I also like being connected to someone who feels vulnerable, just to let them know that someone else has been there and cares enough to give you a hand. Some times that is all that's needed.
The sad thing is though, not everyone will keep on trucking. Events like these shut people down, it jades them a little more til they get to the point where they simply don't care enough to take that risk, and in doing so, a lot of calls for help and support go unheeded. This, if anything, makes me angry about this situation. I hope the family in Colorado and the mom who said TSA took her child think about that, I hope they realize that they've taken some serious positive energy away for our collective pool (which is growing smaller each day it seems) and they give something back. I don't personally feel like I'm owed, but I do feel strongly that they need to pay for their actions, recouping costs and giving something back to the community that they've harmed. I know it will be hard for them to think outward when they are busy on the defense because everyone is probing into their lives, but I think in moving forward, it's very important that they do.