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Support—and Outrage—for Mom Who Left Baby in Shopping Cart

The Short of It

Cherish Peterson, mom of four, left her 2-month-old baby boy in a grocery store shopping cart, in the parking lot. She may be charged with child endangerment. Social media, however, has launched a campaign and is standing by the 27-year-old mom

The Lowdown

We've heard too many sad stories of parents leaving their babies in hot cars and how they end in horrific tragedy—but this story is different. An Arizona mom, Cherish Peterson went to the grocery store with three of her four kids to quickly buy candy for her nephew's birthday party. In an unthinkable moment of chaos, she pulled away with two kids in the car, leaving her 2-month-old baby, Huxton, in the shopping cart, alone in the parking lot. Police found him and brought him into a beauty salon. When Peterson pulled into the family's garage, her 3-year-old asked, "Where's baby Huxton?" A tearful Peterson told KPHO, "I got into my car, and normally I put my cart away. But I didn't need to because I parked at the front of the store and I never park there. And I drove away." Forty minutes later, she was reunited with her baby. "I'm a good mom. I made a mistake," Peterson said over tears. At first, Gilbert, Arizona police didn't press charges, but now Peterson may be facing a charge of child endangerment, which is a misdemeanor.

Not surprisingly, the Internet has exploded in debate over this story: Since the news broke, the supportive hashtag  #Istandwithcherish has begun being used by people who feel feel for the mom, and a Facebook page created to support her has more than 4,000 likes. Here are just some of the positive tweets: "Cherish is literally the sweetest.She doesn't deserve the hate she is gettingWe all Make mistakes.#istandwithcherish" and "EVERYONE makes mistakes! She's beaten herself up enough, there's no need for others to pile on. #istandwithcherish" But some comments are damning—and even draw attention to her race: "#istandwithcherish if she were a black woman, the hastag would be more like #jailtimeforcherish" and "The fact that #IStandWithCherish is a thing shows how powerful white privilege really is. If she was a WOC, she would be sitting in jail."


The Upshot

OK, I'm on the fence about this one. I don't want to bash this mom—she has a lot of kids to care for. It's a big, tireless job. It's a job that comes with stress. But in eight years, I never lost my kid, so my mind is blurred. Let's hope people reading this will learn from her mistake. What do you think? 

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