A year ago, Molly Lensing, a pediatric nurse, was waiting at a Colorado airport with her 2-month-old daughter Anastasia. Computer issues had caused widespread flight delays, so the mom decided to contact her family while her baby lay down on a blanket next to her.
"Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch," she said in an interview with Today Parents. "And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were."
Then, somebody at the airport decided to snap a quick photo of Molly and post it online to judge her for letting her daughter lie on the floor while looking at her cell phone. Since the picture was originally posted online, people across the Internet were quick to shame Molly with rude comments. People even found out her name and harassed her with Facebook messages.
The photo recently went viral again on a French Facebook page with a caption that includes a fake quote from Einstein saying, “I fear the day that technology will take on our humanity … the world will be populated by a generation of idiots.” That post alone has been shared almost 66,000 times.
The photo was taken without Molly’s permission and includes no context about the stressful situation that she was in. Yet people were quick to judge her parenting skills and call her names online over this one picture. At the time she was worried the viral image would negatively impact her career as a nurse.
"I absolutely feel as though my privacy was violated," she said. "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."
Many commenters on Facebook lashed out at whoever took this photo and those who joined in on judging Molly—proving that there are at least some decent people still out there.
“You are absolutely awful for posting this photo,” wrote Linzi Clare Sureka Ibrahim. “Surely you now know the situation the mother was in. Regardless of that, babies spending time on the floor is essential for their development. Women have been doing this forever! Your mum would have put you on the floor while she did things too.”
“Now your post is going viral and people will judge,” wrote Anita Utami. “Next time be more empathetic with fellow human beings and don't be too quick to judge if you don't know the real story.”
“I see a tired mother traveling, who placed her child safely, on the floor, on a clean blanket,” wrote Nicole Knight. “She can see the baby. The child could have fell off the seat next to her. You could have offered to help her but instead you chose to exploit her, to get your 15 minutes of fame.”
Despite being shamed by assholes on the Internet, Molly says she doesn’t pay any attention to them and focuses on her family instead.
"I ignore the photos and the comments and lean on those close to me who know the real me," she said. "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."