A disturbing viral video out of Philadelphia has launched an investigation by police and the Department of Human Services.
The four and a half minute video shows a woman sitting on a Philadelphia SEPTA bus across from a young girl that appears to be her daughter. For the entire length of the clip, the woman repeatedly nods off and has a completely blank stare on her face while her young daughter attempts to prop her head up.
“Mama,” the concerned child says. “Mama!”
At one point the woman quickly yells something, but she continues to nod off.
The video was uploaded by user John Warren, and since being posted, it has already garnered almost 69,000 shares on Facebook and close to 500,000 views on YouTube. Many commenters expressed outrage towards the mother for what appears to be physical effects of drug use, while others bash the fellow people riding the bus for doing nothing about it. SEPTA Police Chief Tom Nestel echoes those same sentiments.
"When you have a person doing the 'heroin nod' and a little girl is trying to hold her head up, that's horrifying," said Nestel. "There's very little reason why 15 calls to 911 weren't received. I don't think there's anyone who can watch that and say, 'Ah, that's a shame,' and just walk away."
The woman’s identity has not been publicly revealed, but reports claim that both the Philadelphia police and the DHS are conducting an investigation. In the meantime, Philadelphia Police spokesman Lt. John Stanford says that this should teach people to speak up when they see something like this happen.
"But you can still give us a call, or notify the bus driver, or the conductor if you're on a train," advises Stanford. “It's disturbing to see that little girl. She can't be more than 8 or 9 years old."
DHS spokeswoman Alicia Taylor says that they are trying to verify the identity of the woman in question while they continue to get important feedback from people online.
“Our Facebook page has gotten a lot of comments from people who are asking us to do something,” said Taylor. “It’s sad that people stood by and nobody reported this when it happened. Child abuse is a community problem. If you see something, you have to say something. People sat by on the bus, and no one called police, and no one called us.”