An Ohio mom's outrage has gone viral after a hospital worker said something shocking to her 4-year-old daughter.
After a young boy hit her daughter, Merritt Smith of Columbus, Ohio, took the girl to Nationwide Children's Hospital for stitches, the mom wrote in a Facebook post on Oct. 6.
The words that came out of the registration desk worker's mouth infuriated Smith.
"I bet he likes you," the man said, according to Smith's post.
Smith acknowledged that the man did not think his statement through, but his words cut much deeper than he realized, she said.
"That statement is where the idea that hurting is flirting begins to set a tone for what is acceptable behavior," Smith wrote.
The man had unknowingly encouraged a dangerous mindset that promotes domestic violence and enables harmful behavior.
...your words of comfort conveyed a message that someone who likes you might hurt you. No. I will not allow that message to be ok. I will not allow it to be louder than 'That's not how we show we like each other.' At that desk you are in a position of influence, whether you realize it or not. You thought you were making the moment lighter. It is time to take responsibility for the messages we as a society give our children. Do Not tell my 4 year old who needs stitches from a boy at school hitting her 'I bet he likes you.' NO.
Facebook users have shared the post almost 22,500 times.
The concerned mom later clarified that she did not blame the other child for his mistake but wanted to draw attention to the hospital worker's inappropriate mindset.
"This is about all adults being part of the village and creating a culture where people know what healthy relationships look like and sound like, what it feels like to be in a healthy relationship," she commented.
Smith emailed a complaint to the hospital shortly after the uncomfortable interaction.
On their website, Nationwide Children's Hospital stated that their goal is to shape "the potential of all children."
They responded with an acknowledgement that the staff will consider Smith's words as "food for thought," the mother said in a comment.