This past Friday, a family from Charlotte, North Carolina was visiting the in Atlanta, a popular rotating restaurant on the 72nd floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, when tragedy struck, according to .
A 5-year-old boy, , got his head stuck between a stationary wall and a table bolted to the slowly rotating floor, according to . The rotating floor has safety mechanisms in place that caused it to immediately shut off; restaurant staffers and patrons , who was then rushed to the hospital. But sadly, Charlie succumbed to his head injuries and was pronounced dead later that day.
According to police reports, Charlie had only wandered a few feet from his parents, who were seated at a table near the window, when he became stuck. "I simply think he lost sight of his parents and panicked, and found himself in that situation. A small child doesn't know what to do in those moments," Warren Pickard, a spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department, told reporters. Officials have ruled his death an accident.
"The family asks for prayers and privacy right now to come to terms with this tragedy," a spokesperson for the Holt family said in a statement . "No words can express their loss. If you have a loved one, please give them an extra hug today."
According to , some internet commenters were quick to blame Charlie's parents for the tragedy. The article highlighted a few of the judgmental comments that page in response to the incident:
Restaurants aren't playgrounds, they are places for dining. I've seen so many loose kids nearly trip the wait staff. If they can't sit down and enjoy a meal at a restaurant, then they're not ready to eat at a restaurant.
So sorry for this little boy. I see it all the time, parents allowing little children to run free. It's not your home. Supervision of your children is expected. Tears for this little lost soul because of neglect.
This is a good reason to not let your bratty kids run wild in a restaurant. Especially dumb ones that manage to get themselves wedged in between the wall…
"The fact that anyone's first instinct is to vilify a pair of grieving parents who lost their son in a grisly accident really speaks to the state of modern society," wrote Scary Mommy's Valerie Williams. "Let's just hope that those who dare to judge and blame are always perfect and never on the other side of something so completely, unimaginably awful."
As the mother of a 21-month-old boy myself, my heart aches for Charlie's parents—but I can also completely understand the instinct to want to blame them. Why? When I spot devastating stories like this one in my Facebook newsfeed, I instinctively try to convince myself that something like this could never happen to me (even though I know that's not true—it could happen to any parent, even the most vigilant among us), because otherwise, I'd have to fully digest the fact that I live in a world where my husband and I might take our son out to lunch, and he could wind up dead. But the reality is that this was a freak accident—and Charlie's parents don't deserve to be dragged through the mud of the internet in the aftermath.
So let's all heed the Holt family's suggestion, and give our loved ones some extra big hugs today.