UPDATE: Boiled Walmart Baby

Yesterday we spoke at length with Ritta over the phone. According to her statement these are the

WALMART EMPLOYEES WHO DIDN’T HELP:
1 Cart pusher
2 Cashiers
2 Managers
————–
5 TOTAL

CUSTOMERS WHO DIDN’T HELP
2 An older couple, one a man whose arm she grabbed at but he jerked away.
6 People walking up a nearby aisle
7 (aprox) People watching as Ritta smashed her hand against the car window.
50 (aprox) Customers in line as Ritta raised her voice to a scream, “Please, Please help me. My Baby’s trapped inside my car.”
—————
65 TOTAL

Ritta reports that she spoke with the store manager who says that in all previous infant lockin situations, the fire department was called immediately. The manager provided no explanation as why that didn’t happen this time.

Ritta’s not looking to sue anyone and mainly blames herself for what happened. Now she always carries her keys in her pocket and never rolls the windows all the way up. The family is also looking into getting a magnetic key box for under the fender.

We understand some people’s incredulity about this story and will be making some corroboration calls. However, a question still nags.

Is this a story about 5 Walmart employees not lifting a finger or 65 townspeople?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. RandomHookup says:

    It’s one of those weird things — with so many people hearing her cry, bystanders assumed someone else would help.

  2. Kluv says:

    I don’t think it’s a story about either. It’s been said ad nauseum already, but this story is about a woman who made a mistake and panicked. I definitely feel for her, it’s a scary situation.

    But when your baby is locked in a hot car — you don’t run around asking for someone to help you get it open — you find something and break the damn window yourself.

    The fact that she only “mainly” blames herself for what happened is the crux of the problem.

  3. AcilletaM says:

    I think this is less a story about Wal*Mart and more about the seventy-ish people who didn’t help.

    You might think it’s an issue with Florida with some of the news coming out of that state lately.

  4. Nottma says:

    This becomes more of a town horror story. “The Town of Selfless Citizens”

    In my town, I am sure people would gladly smash in her window, if she was in need of it not… (Guess that might be a bad thing too)

  5. Barry says:

    She should have asked where there’s a payphone and called 911, assuming the baby wasn’t in there too long, or asked to use the store’s phone to call 911. Don’t shatter glass near a baby when there are expert rescuers who know what they’re doing.

  6. I’m not surprised at Wal-Mart’s indifference. The College Drive Wal-Mart supercenter in Baton Rouge is two years old.

    It is the dirtiest, most congested, least logically designed store I have ever visited.

    Carts litter the lot – next to cars, in the driveways, upside down, on their sides…

    About two hundred people wait to check out along the 40-odd registers – ten are open.

    It takes no less than twenty minutes to make our way to the cash register. Behind two transactions. Two transactions with a total of maybe 25 items.

    There was a man returning – get this – a bag of ice – at customer service as we walked out.

    Sure, it’s cheap – but how much is your time and the finish on your car worth? I’d rather pay a few dollars more at Albertson’s than lose my sanity and new-car look over a few pennies.

  7. mactbone says:

    Aren’t there studies that show the more people around an injured person the less likely they are to recieve attention because “someone else will do it?”

    I don’t think that I would do a lot if some lady ran in and yelled that her baby was trapped in her car. It’s not something that I percieve as an emergency and I would assume that someone else would help her. Non-parents can’t automatically know everything that’s harmful to a baby.

  8. lgf says:

    Oh, good grief, Consumerist! Please kill this non-story. This is dragging longer than the Amy’s Ice Cream fiasco.

    She’s a mom who made a mistake (like I have done many times) and was looking for someone else to blame (initially looking to sue Wal-Mart, taking those staged pictures for the paper). Enough! The baby is fine, let’s move on.

  9. It’s one of those weird things — with so many people hearing her cry, bystanders assumed someone else would help.

    Aren’t there studies that show the more people around an injured person the less likely they are to recieve attention because “someone else will do it?”

    Exactly. They’ll tell you in first-aid classes to never yell “Someone call 911″ but to grab a specific person and tell them to do it.

    you don’t run around asking for someone to help you get it open

    She should have let her baby die if she couldn’t get it open herself?

    She should have asked where there’s a payphone and called 911…or asked to use the store’s phone to call 911.

    Her baby would have died in the heat long before an ambulance showed up.

  10. Lemurs says:

    Panic is always your worst enemy in these situations. Unease means people freeze, and group think means people will assume someone else is handling it. Your best solution is to pick someone out, look them in the eye, and while remaining as calm as you can possibly manage, get them invested in helping you.

    It’s way easier to say than do of course. This really is a non-story. People failing to step up and help happens every day across the country.

  11. Papa K says:

    A non-story? Or bringing to a point the fact that people too often are willing to assume ‘not my problem?’

    And even then, is that wrong?

    I think so. Over 70 people did not assist. That’s not good. What happened to people looking out for each other?

  12. Triteon says:

    Her baby would have died in the heat long before an ambulance showed up. Exactly, RP.
    I phoned a friend who is a paramedic and asked him what he would have done if this were his call– “broken the window.”

  13. Barry says:

    Leave it to the 911 operator to say what to do and how to do it. If the kid was in a car that was air conditioned before the door was locked, and he’s been in there for two minutes and the rescuers are five minutes away, you should probably wait.

  14. North of 49 says:

    if the kid had been a dog and not a kid, someone would have flipped out at her and called the SPCA. I’m amazed that animals get treated better than humans in the heat.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever seem a parent in major panick mode? These people were not indifferent, they were scared by her pulling at their arms and screaming something about a baby. Have you ever seen some of the people that shop at Walmart. I’m sure that the staff has been faced with irrational behavior from screaming people who are mentally ill. They are probably taught to not call the police unless the mentally ill person is a threat to customers or employees. On most of cases, when they don’t get the attention they sought, they just leave.

    This woman acted in an irrational manner. Screaming over and over about some baby is not demanding someone dial 911. From the photos, the vehicle looks like it might be an SUV which would imply some protection from the sun and unless that child was not hydrated to begin with, there would be no physical harm within the one minute time frame she claimed.

    This happened to my sister once while she was still home. She called the fire department and stayed on the phone with the 911 operator relaying her son’s every move to her. Within 7 minutes, the Fire Department arrived and used a slim jim to open the door and all was well again.

    Clearly this woman has issues and should seek professional help. Her behavior demonstrates a total denial of her own actions by blaming an act of God locked her doors. She needs to stop being a victim and grow up. If this woman expects us to believe she never locks her doors, then she definately needs help. Vehicle doors should always be locked when left unattended. Kids like to play in cars and could lock themselves in the car or even worse, the trunk. Some parenting classes are definately called for because she needs the education, not the WalMart employees. If she really thought that her child was in such grave danger, then her MOTHER instinct would have been put in auto-pilot and she would have jumped through the window head first to save her child. Instead, she acted just like the child in the car, a helpless victim.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but you are a victim of your own making. Also, breaking the back window might have produced the required effect of your victim status, but it also was a irrational act. If your child was restrained properly, that would put her facing the rear window that you were breaking. The passanger side front window would have been safer and much thinner and easier to break and cheaper to replace. The only problem, how would others see it when they walked or drove by??