A Des Moines, Iowa-based TikTok user Freddy (@freddyboi90) sparked viral outrage after uploading footage of a child who was left alone in a car while their mother shopped inside of a convenience store.
According to Freddy, he heard the child in the back of the parked vehicle before seeing them. He decided to wait in the parking lot until the kid’s parent returned. As he recorded snippets of his temporary guardianship, he audibly exclaims his shock and disappointment that anyone would put a young child in such a predicament.
He says in the now-viral clip: “So I pull up to the store, right. I get out the truck, I hear something…do y’all see what’s in the car?”
Freddy then pans the camera toward the parked car beside him where a young child in a car seat sits unattended.
“Where is…where is the parent?” he exclaims. “I’m about to sit here and just wait and see how long this motherfucker take to come outside. What are y’all possibly getting to leave a child in the car like this? Bro, I can’t believe this shit, look! He’s waiting like, the fuck?”
In a follow-up video, he shows a woman walking out of the convenience store to the vehicle.
“Stupid bitch,” Freddy says to himself in the clip. “She left him in the car, y’all. Wow. I can’t even believe this shit, man.”
Depending on the state that you live in, leaving your child unattended in a vehicle is considered a crime. In New Jersey, for instance, the “unattended child law states that a parent, legal guardian, or another person responsible for a child younger than 14 years old who leaves the child unattended and unsupervised in a motor vehicle will be considered a petty disorderly person and subject to a fine of not less than $500.”
In 2018, a car thief was recorded on CCTV camera dropping a baby in a carrier off at a nearby gas station. He apparently only noticed that there was a child in the vehicle after stealing the car, and wanted to ensure that the child was safe before he continued to make off with the car he found left running, unlocked, with the keys in the ignition. He tells the employee in the gas station’s convenience store to call the police as he drops off the baby, who was ultimately returned to their mother.
TikTokers who saw Freddy’s video urged him to call child protective services on the woman to ensure that she stops endangering her child by leaving them unattended while she shops. Other mothers who watched the piece said that no matter how inconvenient it may have been for them, or if they had multiple children, they would bring them all inside of a location they were visiting, even if it was just so that they could use the restroom.
“People still thinking its the 1970s and it ok to [do] this,” one top comment read.
“Call the cops, those ppl need a talking to,” another wrote.
“It takes a village. You’re baby sitting… thanks!” one user shared.
“They say treat your kids like they’re a million dollars. nobody would leave a million dollars in their car and walk away! DO BETTER!” one viewer claimed.
Freddy responded to some of the comments, stating that the didn’t have the same type of “energy” as some other TikTokers who remarked that he should’ve walked inside the store and loudly asked who had left their baby in their car alone.
However, many others saw no issue with leaving a child unattended. In fact, several viewers thought the mother did nothing wrong.
“As long as it ain’t ridiculously hot or cold and the doors are locked I got no issue with it,” one viewer wrote.
“It’s a gas station I’m not gonna wake my sleeping baby just to go get something for one minute in the store,” another said. “I’m sure the doors are locked.”
“Whats crazy is we used to get left in the car all the time as kids,” another claimed. “This generation is too dang soft.”
Several others echoed this sentiment, recalling being left alone in cars as kids in the ’80s and ’90s.
In a comment, Freddy clarified that he was waiting outside the store for eight minutes before the mother returned. It is unclear how long the baby was left waiting prior to Freddy showing up.
A staggering 38 children under the age of 15 who are left alone in vehicles die of heatstroke every single year, and there are a litany of other dangers that they face when abandoned in a car if even for a short amount of time.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Freddy via TikTok comment for further information.