Last week I witnessed my first piece of blog-drama. I've been reading blogs regularly for only about a year or so and never encountered anything that shook the entire mommy-blogosphere like this story did.
You see, this woman posted a story about how during a routine security check in an Atlanta airport a TSA agent removed her son from her and walked away with him. I read her post and, as a woman who has actually had my child taken from me I took this post extremely seriously. Not that anyone else wouldn't, but it hit home here. I relived my experience which was heartbreaking and traumatic, as even thinking about it renders me pretty much useless for a couple hours while I recoup. I wept for this woman because although what she had gone through was nowhere near as hard as what I went through, it was still scary and I know that feeling of desperation and helplessness that comes after your child leaves your line of sight and you have no idea where she is going to end up.
Shortly after I recovered from my tear soaked, snot covered journey into my past I discovered the TSA blog's response to the woman's accusations accompanied by a video showing 9 different angles of the whole ordeal. No one took her son from her. There were several other things that she claimed happened during the ordeal that did not appear in the videos. No tear-filled phone calls to her husband or mother. In fact, she didn't appear to be hysterical in any of the video. No tears at all. I watched waiting... Waiting for it to happen. Waiting for even a lapse in the video - a place where perhaps they edited out the encounter. Then the video stopped.
After the video ended I sat and stared blankly at the screen for a moment, shocked that I had been so easily duped. I wanted so badly to believe her, to believe that someone wouldn't blatantly lie like that. I was disappointed in myself for not second guessing the story and for taking a person whom I had never met for her word. I'm still amazed at how devastated I become when I realize that just because I am an honest person that does not mean that everyone else is. It hits me like a slap in the face every time I blindly put my trust into someone and it is taken for granted.
I realize that this woman doesn't care about me or how I felt when I realized that her story was a work of fiction. I'm not so much bothered by the fact that she lied - but more her complete disregard for those whose faith she has betrayed. Throughout our lives we gain a great number of things for ourselves. We decorate our lives with fancy electronics, nice cars, pretty furnishings. We fill our homes with items to keep us busy and entertained. What most people don't realize - like really, deep down gain understanding of - is that these things can easily be stripped away and we're left with nothing. And when it comes down to that, all we really have left is our word and our respect.
Most people I know are like me when it comes to giving and taking respect and trust. I give it freely - it is a courtesy I extend upon meeting someone. The longer I know a person without having that trust and respect broken the deeper it runs. So despite the fact that I had never before read this woman's blog, I took her word at face value and I felt for her more deeply than I tend to feel for people I don't know because her story hit close to home. I know that I probably should have known better, that I shouldn't have been so quick to react but that's the kind of person I am. I leap before looking because I trust (perhaps irrationally) that there will be a soft landing ahead. I guess that's why I find it so wrong that people take for granted the people who trust in them.
I am pretty sure that as it stands now most of the people who are reading this are people I know. Even so, there are a few out there that are strangers. Despite that, I know that I want to maintain my integrity - I find it incredibly important to maintain the trust that is extended to me by you - my readers. Because without that, why would you be here?
Where the aforementioned woman is concerned, she has been stripped of my trust. Not that she finds it important, I'm sure. I just needed, for myself, to get this out of my head. There are plenty of people who write personal accounts of their experiences that are true to their word who I would much rather take the time to read, to get to know - and I hope that those of you who are reading this see me as one of those people.
8 years ago