There’s a pretty well-known saying about making assumptions. But sometimes it can also be dangerous to assume that something can do more than make you look crazy.
But sadly, it was racism and prejudice that led one woman to call the police for a black babysitter in Georgia for no reason.
A surprising encounter
Corey Lewis was babysitting David Parker and Dana Mango in Marietta, Georgia one afternoon when he decided to take the six-year-old boy and his sister to Subway at the local Walmart for lunch. Lewis knew them from his youth mentorship program, which the 27-year-old founded and runs.
When they finished, an unidentified woman came to the car and asked if the children were okay, Lewis said.
“I was stunned and I said, ‘Why wouldn’t they be?'” Lewis said BuzzFeed News. “She told me ‘It looked weird’ and I was like ‘They’re fine.'”
What did the woman find strange? The fact that Lewis is black and the kids are white. From there she couldn’t let go. She left, drove her car across the parking lot and then returned, according to Lewis.
“She then asked if the little girl could get out of the car so she could ask her if she knew who I was,” he continued. “And I said no and she got upset and threatened to take my license plate and call the police. I said ok and she drove off.”
A scary twist
When the kids finished eating, Lewis made sure they were both safely in the car and drove off for fuel. Then he realized the woman was chasing them in her car. He took out his phone and started recording the meeting.
“All because I have two kids in the backseat that don’t look like me… It’s crazy,” he said in the video. “It’s 2018 and this is what I’m dealing with. I can’t date two kids who don’t look like me without it being weird.”
Lewis was about to take the kids home when the woman kept following them, so he decided to go to his house. It was closer, and his mother was home. When he arrived and stopped, he picked up his phone again and recorded a second video.
“She also turned into my street and then more or less stopped at the cul-de-sac and then, a few minutes later, the police officer showed up and started asking me questions,” Lewis said. BuzzFeed News.
In the video, the approaching police officer can be heard asking Lewis what’s going on.
“I am followed and harassed; that’s what’s going on,” said Lewis. “I heard,” the officer replied with a laugh. He then questioned the children and everyone left. Still, the incident could have ended much worse.
Dealing with the aftermath
Afterwards, the children had many questions and the parents were shocked that it had happened at all.
“We never thought we’d have to prepare them for a traffic stop or be pulled out of a car by the police if we weren’t there,” explains the father, Parker, to BuzzFeed News. “My wife really kept thinking it was a joke. It’s hard to wrap my head around what would motivate someone to do that,” he continued.
According to Lewis and the family, they are still trying to figure out who the woman was because the kids want her to know what a stand-up community man Lewis really is.
“My son wants her to know how much fun he is having with Mr. Lewis and what a great guy he is. Both kids also want to ask her why she thought it was weird that “someone with brown skin was with someone with peach skin.” Even superficially they knew what was happening and they want to know why.”
As for Lewis, he is sad but tries to see the bright side of things.
“I work with white kids every day, and while you always hear about this stuff, it’s still so demoralizing when it happens to you,” added Lewis. “I think the good side of it is that it keeps light on an issue that we need to keep talking about.”
Throw away prejudices
While it is always important to try to help if a child appears to be in distress or something is wrong with their situation, there was no reason for this woman to intervene in this particular circumstance. In fact, her actions could have caused more danger than good.
It reminds us that we should all try to check preconceived notions and not make hasty judgments about people or situations without really knowing what is going on.
People always go through things we can’t see, and just because someone looks at you a certain way doesn’t mean they are that way on the inside.
Instead, educate yourself, talk about these issues and share stories like this one. The only way to make things better is to be transparent and share the messages behind the stories as we all work towards a more united future for all.