Memes and viral photos are easy to dehumanize. We often think of their subjects as objects, rather than actual human beings with emotions. And for all of those scandalous photos, rarely do we know the subject’s side of the story. Such is the case with Molly Lensing, the woman who was ridiculed and scorned for a viral photo of her and her baby.
In 2016, Molly and her fussy 2-month-old daughter were stranded at a Colorado airport.
Molly is a pediatric nurse and mother of three. She works hard, professionally at at home. At some point during a hellish, arduous wait, Molly was on her cell phone while seated at the gate in a chair. She had placed her baby on a blanket on the floor, near her feet.
During this time, a male stranger, who was sitting nearby, snapped and shared a photo of Molly on his Facebook page. He did this without her permission.
The photo went viral. All because of the cruel, erroneous caption the photographer attached to it.
The caption read:
Albert Einstein said, ‘I fear the day that technology will take on our humanity… the world will be populated by a generation of idiots.’
Molly learned about the photo, but only after it went viral with more than 65,000 shares.
Molly’s life turned upside down. Strangers harassed and cyber bullied her. They ruthlessly shamed her for “ignoring” her baby to use her phone.
Molly felt compelled, to say the least, to get the truth out there regarding the viral photo. And so, she did.
“We had the unfortunate luck of being stuck in the middle of the Delta computer shutdown,” Molly told Today Parents.
Airlines had delayed and re-booked Molly’s flights multiples times. She and her infant daughter had spent over 20 hours sitting in airports.
At the time the man took the photo, Molly’s arms ached from holding her infant.
Furthermore, the baby needed to stretch out. And Molly needed to contact her worried family. Enter the cell phone.
And to make matters worse, Molly was worried that through all of this controversy, she would lose her job as a pediatric nurse. Given the nature of the photo, her worries were not unfounded.
However, she thankfully did not lose her job.
Molly’s story is a cautionary tale for us all. Simply put, hold back judgment until you know the whole story. Even then, proceed with caution. Often what you think you know is only the tip of the iceberg.