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Mom Called 'Creepy' For Letting A Kid Sit In Her Car While Waiting For The Bus In -11 Degree Cold

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kid freezing in the cold

"It takes a village to raise a child" has been a saying for ages, and it used to be standard practice that parents kept an eye on each other's kids. 

But as a mom on Reddit discovered the hard way, something has shifted in recent years. Now, this kind of community focus has somehow become offensive to many parents.

The mom got called 'creepy' for helping a kid keep warm during a dangerous cold snap.

Unless you're in a really lucky part of the country, you've likely been hunkering down with a warm blanket a lot lately as extreme cold and winter storms have pushed into the vast majority of the nation in recent weeks, even in regions unaccustomed to such weather.

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And it's been no mere cold snap. Numbers vary, but so far an estimated 70-90 people have been killed by freezing temperatures and brutal storms in recent weeks.

So when a mom saw a kid at her daughter's bus stop on a morning with a -11 degree wind chill wearing nothing but a thin pullover, she did what most decent people would do — she offered the kid a way to keep warm. 

The mom let the kid sit in her warm car because the school buses were running way behind.

Standing outside in -11 degrees temps without a proper coat on for just a moment or two is one thing. But the mom wrote that this particular morning, the school buses were running 15 minutes behind which was more than enough time for effects like frostbite or even hypothermia to set in.

"I felt like I couldn't ethically allow a kid to stand out in such cold weather when I had a warm car he could sit in," the mom wrote. "He took my offer and sat in my backseat while me and my daughter spoke. He kept his AirPods in and didn't say much other than saying thank you."

But the kid's mother did not share his gratitude. 

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The kid's mom yelled at her for helping her son and warned her to leave him alone.

"Yesterday while I was walking my dog a woman came up to me," the mom wrote. "She asked me why I took her son into my car." After explaining the obvious — the subzero temperatures and her son's lack of a coat — the kid's mother berated her. 

"She told me to never do that again and that what I did was incredibly creepy and to leave her son alone," the mom wrote. "I was taken aback, I just offered the kid a warm place to sit and didn't even speak to him."

   

   

She's been left deeply confused by the encounter. "I feel bad because of course I never want to come across as creepy or overstepping boundaries," she explained, "but I also feel like if the roles were reversed … I would be thankful."

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Multiple studies have shown that America's social fabric and our trust in each other are rapidly eroding. This incident is a perfect example.

Virtually nobody on Reddit agreed with the kid's mom's angry reaction to the Redditor. But some of them felt understanding of the other mom's anger.

"I do get where the other mom was coming from," one of them wrote, "but at least the child in question didn’t freeze in such bad weather." This is just one writer's opinion, but that is absurd.

There is no justification for becoming angry about someone doing the right thing by your child in a dangerous situation, and the only appropriate response is to say thank you. Anything else is incredibly rude and ungrateful and speaks to an all too common trend nowadays in which many parents reflexively view so much as a glance in their child's direction from another parent as an act of aggression.

   

   

But more importantly, it also suggests a level of distrust bordering on paranoia. These two women's kids are at the same bus stop every morning, after all.

And it speaks to disturbing trends in our society that are not spoken of nearly enough. A 2023 study by Pew Research found that 79% of Americans feel that we all have "far too little" trust in each other, and 58% of respondents are deeply worried about these increasing levels of suspicion in each other.

Multiple studies have attributed this to a variety of causes from political divisiveness, economic woes, the ways we've replaced social interaction with social media, terrorism, and violence that is often politically motivated, and fake conspiracy theories about child victimization chief among them. 

   

   

This has all led to myriad ills, from the "loneliness epidemic" to skyrocketing rates of so-called "diseases of despair" like substance abuse and mental health crises.

It's certainly not our fault that this has happened. It's notable that every single proximate cause for these epidemics ultimately ties back to the actions of our politicians. But it is our responsibility to do something about it where we can. 

   

   

Saying thank you, instead of how dare you, when someone saves your kid from getting frostbite at the bus stop is a place to start. And to be perfectly frank, that shouldn't even need to be explained to anyone, let alone a parent. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.