Merritt Smith is a mom from Columbus, Ohio. A boy hit her 4-year-old daughter in the face at school on October 6, so she took her to the hospital to get stitches under her eye. There, an employee told the little girl he “bet [the boy] likes you.”
Following the outrageous comment, Smith wrote a powerful response on Facebook. She said: “I bet he likes you.”
Dear man at the registration desk at Children’s hospital, l’m positive that you didn’t think that statement through. As soon as I heard it I knew that is where it begins. That statement is where the idea that hurting is flirting begins to set a tone for what is acceptable behavior. My four year old knows “That’s not how we show we like someone. That was not a good choice.”
In that moment, hurt and in a new place, worried about perhaps getting a shot or stitches you were a person we needed to help us and your words of comfort conveyed a message that someone who likes you might hurt you. No. I will not allow that message to be ok. I will not allow it to be louder than “That’s not how we show we like each other.” At that desk you are in a position of influence, whether you realize it or not. You thought you were making the moment lighter. It is time to take responsibility for the messages we as a society give our children. Do Not tell my 4 year old who needs stitches from a boy at school hitting her “I bet he likes you.” NO.”
Smith’s post has been shared more than 30,000 times since then, and she has commented that she in no way wants to shame the other child involved in the incident. In addition to that, the mom-of-one said that she still values the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and she believes that the employee genuinely meant no harm.