I can’t imagine how desperate one must be to leave two children in a parked SUV in a sweltering parking lot while going for a job interview.
But that’s the choice Shanesha Taylor made when she left her 2-year-old and 6-month-old in her SUV while she went in for a job interview with a Scottsdale, Arizona insurance agency last month. The homeless mother of two was trying to get a leg up and get off food stamps — instead she got herself arrested for child abuse.
How desperate one must be to make that choice.
She couldn’t find a babysitter to look after her kids for the interview, so she brought them, and left them in her SUV outside the office.
After being inside her appointment for an hour, Ms. Taylor was arrested when she returned to her vehicle parked in the 100 degree temperatures. She had left the keys in the ignition, and the windows open a crack. Witnesses called authorities after finding the children sweating and “crying hysterically.”
As much as I want to scream, “How could you do that to your babies?!” I look at the mugshot of Shanesha Taylor at the left and the photo says it all. Faced with a choice of continuing in poverty, or trying to get a job to support her family, she took her shot.
How desperate she must have been.
She now has the prospect of not only losing custody of her two children, but of also facing up to seven years in prison and two charges of child abuse.
How desperate she must have been to show the insurance agency that she could handle the job. How afraid she must have been that if she showed up with her kids in tow, she would have lost any chance at that job.
So she left her kids in the car. How desperate she must have been.
The Internet, usually quick to judge with cynicism, has chosen another route. Instead of facing attacks for putting her children in such peril, Shanesha Taylor is being swarmed with support.
Amanda Bishop, raised in poverty herself, saw this heartbreaking mug shot of a mom in the news and immediately set up a fund for her via YouCaring.com. It has raised nearly $100 000 in less than a week.
“She could have been at a bar or at a club and leaving her children in the car,“ Bishop told the Associated Press. “Here’s a woman who is an example of someone who is trying — who is trying to better her situation and doing what she can to provide for her children.”
Every parent knows what unconditional love feels like. Every parent knows we would do whatever it takes to give our kids a better life than what we have.
Leaving your kids in a vehicle when it’s 100 degrees is irresponsible, yes. But look at that face. Those tears. That sadness. How desperate she must have been to give her kids a better future.
Remember that song from City High, “What Would You Do?”