There is no doubt that the internet has made it very easy to judge others. We see a momentary snapshot of their lives and think we know the whole story, when sometimes we have no idea. That is the story of a photograph that was shared on Facebook, and resulted in the bullying of a woman named Molly Lensing.
Molly is a pediatric nurse and the mother of three children who was trying to get back home but was stranded in an airport in Colorado. She was also alone with her two-month-old baby. Caught in the middle of the Delta computer shutdown, she had no idea how long it was going to take her to get home.
In the middle of waiting, a male stranger took a photograph of her checking her phone while her baby lied on a blanket on the floor. The man then posted the photograph on Facebook with a caption saying, “Albert Einstein said, ‘I fear the day that technology will take on our humanity… the world will be populated by a generation of idiots.’”
The post went viral and Molly began to be harassed and insulted online. People believed she was neglecting her baby to use her cell phone.
So Molly Lensing decided she needed to defend herself and explain what was happening in that moment that was captured and put onto social media without her permission.
It turns out that Molly was stuck travelling and waiting for flights to get home for 20 hours. She was exhausted and her baby needed to stretch. “We had the unfortunate luck of being stuck in the middle of the Delta computer shut-down,” Lensing said. “Anastasia had been held in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch. And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were.”
Molly explained that she thought the judgement and uproar over the misunderstood situation might even cost her nursing job, if one of her coworkers or employers were to see the post. “I absolutely feel as though my privacy was violated,” said Lensing. “I had recently started working on a labor floor, and I was terrified of my co-workers or boss seeing the photo and comments and believing that I should no longer work with infants. Thankfully, this never happened.”
After the harassment of Molly Lensing, blogger Mary Backstrom of Mom Babble, expressed frustration at the harassment and support of the tired mom.
Backstrom wrote, “No. Just no. We do not snap photos of exhausted mothers in the airport and shame them publicly. This is gross and needs to stop. I’ve been this woman. My flight delayed, running on zero sleep, fearful that my baby might slip straight from my arms and onto the floor if I nodded off … I wish she knew that there are mamas who understand exhaustion and imperfection and don’t choose to pounce someone in their weakest moment.”
Other commenters who supported Molly noted that while everyone was eager to criticize her, no one offered her any help.
Said Molly, “I am powerless compared to the internet, and I know that I am the best momma to my girls and I know that I cherish them and am raising them the best I can.”
Maybe next time we are tempted to judge another on social media, we’ll think back to this story and remember that we might not have all the facts.