Child abduction

Dad Beats the Crap Out of Good Samaritan Who Was Trying to Help His Lost Kid

Dad's not sorry, says "I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot. What would you do?"

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WFLA News

When a man noticed a little girl wandering by herself near a softball game in Lakeland, Florida, he correctly assumed the child was lost. So he tried to help her find her family.

But when the girl's father was alerted by bystanders that some stranger was walking towards the playground with his daughter, the father went and punched the man out. The police report is here. As NBC News describes, "the well-intentioned act was mistaken for a kidnapping attempt."

You know why? Because far too many people have a sort of movie-plot scenario on infinite-loop in their brains, telling them that children routinely get abducted in public by strangers.

"I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot. What would you do?" the father told NBC affiliate WFLA in a phone interview. "I wanted to kill him!"

–Thinking they were stopping a crime, the father and two friends approached the stranger: As his friends took the toddler away, the father punched the good Samaritan "probably five or six times," he told WFLA.

"I thought he was trying to take my daughter."

Perhaps the father was among the 12 million people who watched Joey Salads' video in which he shows how "easy" it is to steal a child from a park—making it seem like this kind of thing is happening all the time. But the Salads video ignores two key facts:

  • Most people do not steal children. It is the rarest of crimes.
  • The tragic but less exciting truth is that our children are in far more danger from people they know than they are from strangers.

To make matters worse, even after the police concluded that this was indeed a Good Samaritan trying to help a lost child, the child's father remained defiant and unapologetic about his violent actions:

The father and his friends were not satisfied with the man's explanation or that of the police. "So, I guess in Lakeland, you can kidnap a child and get away with it," the father said to police, local media reported. The police report, local media said, described the father as "increasingly agitated."

According to WFLA, other media outlets and police, family members and friends went on social media and shared the man's photo, his Facebook page and his place of business, "calling him a child predator," WFLA said.

The Good Samaritan, now fearing for his life, has fled town. Meanwhile, the police are reminding the family that, "accounts of this incident have circulated on social media with false information and speculation. Posting false information on Facebook could cause a defamation of character claim and those posting false information could be held [liable]."

The whole incident makes you understand this tragic story from 2002. In England, a man named Clive Peachey saw a lost toddler on the side of the road and considered stopping to pick her up and helping her to find her parents. But he drove on.

She was not walking straight, she was tottering, said Mr Peachey. "I kept thinking should I go back? One of the reasons I did not go back is because I thought someone would see me and think I was trying to abduct her."

The lost toddler later drowned in a pond.

To make the world safer for kids, we need to stop viewing all stranger-child interactions as potential crimes.

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105 responses to “Dad Beats the Crap Out of Good Samaritan Who Was Trying to Help His Lost Kid

  1. “I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot. What would you do?” the father told NBC affiliate WFLA in a phone interview. “I wanted to kill him!”

    That poor girl is in for a tough dating life in high school.

    1. I knew a guy in hippie dippie Berkeley who was in a similar situation. Busted for stealing a shopping cart which he was pushing back to the store. TO the store, not AWAY FROM.

      Some people just got no brains. Why would a predator bring a child BACK to the playground? Think he’s trying to get lucky with a threesome, I suppose.

    2. The father clearly has anger management issues. Someone should file an anonymous tip with the local CPS. See how he likes having his life turned upside down.

      1. I have seen what malicious use of CPS can do to a family. That you would even consider siccing those monsters on a family is needlessly cruel, vindictive, capricious, and extremely illiberal.

        1. Under normal circumstances you would be right. But when the father assaults an innocent man, proceeds to be an unapologetic dick about it, and then the family proceeds to post his personal info online with the false accusation of child predator attached to him, basically ruining his life and forcing his family to move…I’d say the whole clan is not fit to be raising any children and CPS needs to rip their world to shreds. The father needs to be imprisoned for assault and the family needs to be sued for every fucking cent they have. Fuck those gator fucking hillbillies.

          1. Under normal circumstances you would be right.

            Principles don’t get tossed in the bin as soon as someone decides to be an idiot.

    3. Father was angry about potentially losing the opportunity to murder-suicide with the daughter. Aww.

  2. “Joey Salads” is the least threatening Mafia name ever.

    1. Also, don’t forget Ritchie Kale Smoothie and Bobby Tofu Scramble.

      1. If you’d ever had a *real* run in with the vegan mafia, you wouldn’t be joking around like you are.

        1. Yeah, whatever you do, don’t image search “Colombian Carrotsticking”.

          1. You see, now my curiosity is piqued…

            1. I couldn’t resist. It was disappointingly innocuous. Anti-climactic, even.

      2. Any reformulation of Robby Fruit Sushi Soave pretty much.

    2. If you say that to his face then he’ll tong you right in your fucking kneecap, and I bet youse don’t want that, do ya?

  3. According to WFLA, other media outlets and police, family members and friends went on social media and shared the man’s photo, his Facebook page and his place of business, “calling him a child predator,” WFLA said.

    Christ, what assholes.

    1. Looking forward to the lawsuit. Hope he gets rich off of it.

      1. At the very least he should take those fuckers for everything they have. Which, this being FL, probably isn’t much.

        1. The kid’s parents are the kind of people who get mad when someone notices that they’ve left their kid unattended in a parking lot at a baseball game in Florida. I’m not sure that the guy necessarily wants a neon Coors sign and a cooler full of baby pythons.

  4. I have some severe doubts about this story – if the girl was out of the dad’s sight long enough for this “good Samaritan” to be concerned that she was lost, Lakeland County DFACS would have swooped in after the fact and snatched the kid away from monster Dad. The fact that there’s no mention of the obligatory DFACS investigation of this clear case of a child unattended by a parent for more than 3/5ths of a second makes me suspect we’re not getting the whole story.

    1. The fact that there’s no mention of the obligatory DFACS investigation of this clear case of a child unattended by a parent for more than 3/5ths of a second makes me suspect we’re not getting the whole story.

      Yeah, maybe it was for brevity but, I feel like some crucial facts are missing. A 5-8 yr. old ‘little girl’ who can’t find their parents is one thing, a 2-yr.-old is another. Clearly (or evidently not), the guy wasn’t abducting a 2-yr.-old. However, the 2-yr.-old was lost, the ‘samaritan’ decided to help out, several other people noticed the samaritan helping out and *then* the softball game had to be put on hold for the parents to be reunited with their child.

      This pretty clearly wasn’t a “I turned my back and she was gone!” situation. If you’re that worried about your child being kidnapped, the blame lies as much with whichever spouse was (not) watching her.

      1. Is this the one situation where you’d like to see child protective services descend on a parent? It seems likely dad is either trying desperately to puff himself up or deflect the fact that he was drunk and neglectful.

        1. Is this the one situation where you’d like to see child protective services descend on a parent? It seems likely dad is either trying desperately to puff himself up or deflect the fact that he was drunk and neglectful.

          It’s not clear, but it sounds like the Dad may’ve been playing in the game, which I could understand. IDK, that I’d like to see DCFS involved but, yeah, the mom/dad team that’s completely ignorant of the child until someone’s offering assistance and then immediately leaps to overprotective rage mode sets off some alarm bells.

  5. I don’t know about you all, but my reaction to a situation that is not immediately comprehensible is preemptive violence.

    1. *** Punches Chipper Morning in the face ***

      1. totally called for.

        1. You guys are so mean.

      2. ***Fills Chupacabra full of carfentanyl, then has his way ***

  6. If you find a lost child don’t move just call the cops and let them know, and they will proceed to shoot you for the same false reasons that the father punched the man in this article

    1. Very sad but probably too true. In fact, in most instances, you are inviting more trouble for yourself by calling the cops.

      1. Pretty much all you can do is ignore everyone, but especially ignore children.

        1. Especially your own; they’re the ones most likely to get you in trouble.

      2. My very first interaction with the cops in my life was as a teen when I called the cops after a large angry neighbor had chased me inside because I was walking my dogs too close to his property line and he was pounding on the sliding glass door on our back porch…. I got cited and we were court ordered to build a fence between the properties, all costs on us.

        I learned my lesson good that day. Fuck the police.

    2. Sad indictment of modern society.

  7. From the linked WaPo story:

    The good Samaritan told several local outlets that he has now left town with his family for their safety. He says he will not press charges against the father.

    The father made no apologies for his actions but told The Post, “All that matters is that my daughter is home safely.”

    The police statement did not provide names and no one was charged. To protect the child and the falsely accused man, The Post is not using names in this story either.

    This terrifies me every time I come within screaming distance of a child in a park while I am running. The worst is when the kids (who, you know, are normal), try to talk interact with me. I feel like yelling, “STRANGER DANGER” and running toward the first woman I see.

    1. Liar. When was the last time you were running.

      1. Liar.

        He said he feels like running. But I agree with the lying, I suspect he got those feelings well before the whole helicopter parenting panic and gets them whether children are around or not.

    2. That’s why you should always carry pepper spray and use it on any kids who approach you.

    3. I feel like yelling, “STRANGER DANGER” and running toward the first woman I see.

      Interesting pickup line.

      1. You know what else was an interesting pick up line that Crusty has used?

        1. Hi, my name isn’t Chipper Morning, Now #1?

          1. It’s like you don’t want to get laid.

    4. He says he will not press charges against the father.

      Fuck that noise. If I were him I’d press charges for assault and battery and file a lawsuit for slander against the dad and any of his idiot family members and friends who have been talking shit about him online. They published his name, address, and place of business. So now anytime he applies for a job in the future and they do a background check these accusations of him being a child predator are gonna come up. The only way I can see that he might be able to clear his name and restore his reputation is to sue them for everything they’re worth.

      1. Yeah, and the dad is a real piece of shit; wouldn’t surprise me if he’s trying to compensate for what a horrible parent he is, so the kids are likely better off with him in jail or the homeless shelter.

        1. Yep. Projection.

          Dad seems like a psycho.

    5. I wish that the good Samaritan would sue the living SHIT out of unrepentant bastard-dad!!!

      The good Samaritan has now saddled us with another monster on the loose, who was NOT taught a lesson!!!!

      Too much forgiveness saddles ALL of us with monsters on the loose!

  8. Was he walking towards the playground or walking towards the parking lot? Cause that is a monumental difference.

    1. Was he walking towards the playground or walking towards the parking lot?

      Technically, being on a sphere… yes. More seriously, it sounds like wandering with the 2-yr.-old and for quite some time and not really in any way hurriedly or covertly. Would it be better if they were wandering towards the woods?

      1. The article that I read yesterday on this story said that he approached several people asking “is this your Mom?” The police interviewed several independent Witnesses who said that he had approached them looking for the kids parents.

        So his version completely checks out. The actual parents probably only became aware of him as they saw him across the playground walking their little girl’s hand so for the two seconds they saw him he might have been facing in the direction of the parking lot.

        Both versions of the story are completely compatible with a simple misunderstanding. The problem arises with a little bit of paranoia on the part of the parents and some of those around them and a little bit of digging in your heels even when you’re wrong on the part of the parents. The parents clearly lost track of time, as in their version they only lost track of their daughter for about 30 seconds which means they had been aware that they did not know where she was for about 30 seconds, but maybe they did not have eyes on her for 10 or 15 minutes.

        1. The article that I read yesterday on this story said that he approached several people asking “is this your Mom?”

          Should have asked those women to join him, telling him it wasn’t safe for him to do this alone.

          Unfortunately, that is the way of things. A man alone is assumed to be a predator.

      2. Oblate spheroid, but still valid point.

  9. So no arrest for assault? The father is guilty of assault, but his punishment should be an apology to the good Samaritan. Determination of guilt is just one step in the system of justice, sentencing is another. In a properly functioning justice system the rights of the victim (the Samaritan’s rights not to be physically assaulted) should be protected, but the recourse for the victim weighs all considerations. Dad is guilty, but we all understand his excuse, so he should be punished lightly. An apology, or perhaps maybe receiving 6 or 7 punches meted out by his victim? Guilt is not relieved because of honest intentions.

  10. Cue the link to the Doug Stanhope bit about how your kid is not nearly as hot and irresistible as you think they are.

    WARNING: DO NOT GOOGLE OR POST A LINK TO THE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THIS HILARIOUS STANDUP SEGMENT.

    The FBI will be very interested in your search terms, and if they find the link on your computer, you WILL do hard time. But, it might be worth it for the laffs?

    1. I thought you were supposed to be silent, Cal…

      1. You lose

  11. What would you do?

    Try to communicate first and commit violence if he gives the wrong answer(s)?

  12. If I see a small child who appears genuinely lost I will first call 911 and keep them on the line before I venture to do anything. This is not because I want to over react and report on a “free range” kid [both of mine, now adults, fit the description post hoc] but because I do not want to be fed upon by mass hysteria.

    1. If I see a small child who appears genuinely lost…

      I won’t do anything. Not even joking.

    2. If I see a small child who appears genuinely lost I will first call 911 and keep them on the line before I venture to do anything.

      The SWAT team that takes you down will appreciate the call.

  13. “The Good Samaritan, now fearing for his life, has fled town.”

    The past week’s news stories have taught me two things.

    1. Never tell a cop that you have a gun
    2. Never help a child in distress

    Thank you, hysterical Americans.

    1. Good intentions, road to hell.

    2. 3. Never go within .5 miles of a park or playground

      1. 4. Never gonna give you up.

      2. Unless you’re a cop and a there’s a kid playing with a toy gun [like any normal kid, once upon a time at least] you’re totally convinced is a real gun. Then you drive up real close, so close the kid could easily shoot you dead, stop, roll the window down, and shoot him dead. Just another day on the beat…

  14. The guy who was trying to help the kid and got beat up should sue Adam Walsh’s dad. He is probably most responsible for why people freak out so much about strangers and kids.

    1. And the producers of Taken.

  15. If I were the father, I would offer the victim my sincerest apologies and return his dismembered testicles immediately.

  16. “So, I guess in Lakeland, you can kidnap a child and get away with it,” the father said to police, local media reported. The police report, local media said, described the father as “increasingly agitated.”

    Look on the bright side. CPS will probably take the poor girl away from this irrational monster.

    After all, it takes a village. Well, a village without Good Samaritans, anyway.

    1. The union CPS thugs have cornered the Good Samaritan market and don’t like scabs taking work from them.

    2. Look on the bright side.

      Also, Facebook seems to have effectively rendered sex offender registries obsolete. I mean, it won’t displace them, but if you lied awake at night worrying about people getting victimized because we didn’t have enough lists of deplorables or the lists weren’t shared widely enough, you can rest easy now that we have Facebook.

  17. I guess this could happen anywhere, but is yet another good reason not to live in Florida.

  18. This is why I avoid anyone with kids and their children as well. As soon as people reproduce, they lose their minds about their offspring.

    1. I have to admit that I got a bit pissed at a woman who was snapping photos of my son at the airport once because she liked his car suitcase and wanted to show it to her friends. I felt bad afterwards that I overreacted.

    2. This is why people should have more children. It was in the Luvs commercials. They go nuts over child #1, then with child #2 they gain perspective.

      1. FIrst child eats mud pie: “OMG! Little Fanthorpe got dirt in his mouth!! Call 911!! Or 912 if it’s better!! Is there some kind of first aid for it? Should we induce vomiting??”

        Second child eats mud pie: *hmmm…wonder if that means we can skip fixing him lunch?*

  19. The costs of living in a culture of fear continue to compound. Constant, unreasonable fear of our neighbors favors only the ruling class, which benefits from tribalism and reactionary thinking.

  20. You can imagine what this story will look like when the “Law and Order S.V.U.” writers get done with it.
    “Good Samaritan” will be serial child predator who meet his doom when he kidnaps Marisa Hargity on the NY subway, imprisons her in his lair in an unused tunnel and is caught just as he’s about to rip her blouse off.

    1. dammit, why couldn’t the cops have shown up just 30 seconds later!

      It was that dang commercial break that did it! If not for that 60 second commercial for hip replacement surgery, we could have had a glimpse of some MILF naughty bits!!!

    2. So the blouse stays on? Dammit.

  21. As his friends took the toddler away, the father punched the good Samaritan “probably five or six times,” he told WFLA.

    “I thought he was trying to take my daughter.”

    Order of Operations Error. It happens to the best of us. I just don’t beat up my code when it happens.

    1. “Family” takes on a whole different meaning when you’re trying to save your granddaughter/half-sister because your idiot nephew/stepson passed out under the bench again and lost track of her. Or, I suppose, in the tl, dr version: “Family takes on a whole different meaning in Florida.”

  22. Dude should press charges for assault and file a tip with CPS.

    I would totally call this asshole out in the media, with real names.

    And I would go scorched earth with defamation lawsuits.

    Nfw am I running away from that asshole.

    Examining the evidence perhaps the problem was that “towards the playground” was also away from the softball diamond.

  23. A decade or so back I was in the mall, and felt something on my jeans pocket. Looked down to see a toddler hanging on to me. I glanced around. Another guy in jeans was looking my way. We both figured out that from toddler-eye-view “jeans” = “Dad.” I shrugged, he shrugged. Toddler looked up and got big eyes, looked around, and ran to Dad. We shared grins.

    Hate to have that happen today.

    In this situation cops should have arrested Dad, or at least handcuffed him and had a “Look, Stupid…” conversation.

  24. According to WFLA, other media outlets and police, family members and friends went on social media and shared the man’s photo, his Facebook page and his place of business, “calling him a child predator,” WFLA said.

    The guy should sue the shit out of the dad and anyone else posting shit online for libel and slander. And I sincerely hope that someone beats the living fuck out of the father. Fucker deserves a good beating.

    1. I would agree with anywhere from 5 to 12 restitutional punches.

      1. Maybe a kick in the nuts or 2 would be more appropriate; dad probably shouldn’t be having any more kids anyway.

        1. This story already involved enough nutpunch.

  25. Another angle missing from the story is the racial aspect. The Good Samaritan is suspiciously foreign looking. I have to believe that the same story would have gotten a different treatment a year ago. And Lord help the family if they happened to be Caucasian. Because then it would be all Trump’s fault and CNN would have to helicopter in a reporter.

    But that has nothing to do with any of the participants, only with the media and their desire to pursue narratives.

  26. Good thing the kid’s father isn’t a police officer. With the sort of irrational action he did, and total unrepentance after discovering he was wrong – he’d be exactly the sort of officer to do stupid things, then do more stupid things to try and cover up the first stupid thing.

    1. Officer stops sexual predator attempting to kidnap his daughter.

      Good shoot. Given medal and keys to the city. Courageous story on Oprah.

      1. Sadly all too likely.

  27. Don’t wanna be a thug, don’t help kids.

  28. Most people do not steal children. It is the rarest of crimes.

    Just as rare as incidents that end like this. So don’t take Skenazy news & conclude it’s best to leave alone children who seem like they need help. The odds of your getting in trouble for it are about as long as those of child theft. Ms. Skenazy’s doing a fine service, & it’s good to highlight the absurdities caused by propaganda, but remember we just never hear about all the people who help other people in trouble & are appreciated for it.

  29. I’d help the kid but by sitting in one place just like being lost in the woods and letting the parents find us. Wouldn’t call the cops.

  30. This is the reason I just don’t get involved anymore other than calling 911, etc. Not my business.

  31. The tragic but less exciting truth is that our children are in far more danger from people they know than they are from strangers.

    Dear old Dad is a lunatic, and obviously has anger management issues. That little girl is in danger.

  32. It strikes me that the Dad is deflecting. Somehow, his toddler was in a position in which no one was watching her and she had to be helped by a samaritan. Far easier for Dad to blame the imagined threat posed by a stranger than to acknowledge that his own inattention placed his daughter in (potential) harm’s way. To his mind, his anger negates his failings as a parent: maybe I wasn’t watching her, he can argue, but my righteous (and violent) indignation at the samaritan and the police makes up for my screw-up!

  33. Did I miss something? Why didn’t the samaritan file assault and battery charges? Christ, if the father shot the guy, the father would have been automatically arrested in many places just for firing the gun.

  34. Back around 1990, there was a story in Philadelphia where a group of young children were playing in a street and a man drove by, rolled down his window, and politely asked the kids not to play there because it is dangerous. A neighbor saw this, called the police, and a lynch mob gathered to go after this horrible “predator” who lived just a couple of blocks away. The only thing that may have saved the guy’s life was the fact that the cops showed up before the lynch mob, and when they interviewed the kids, one of them admitted that they were playing in the street and said the man did not try to lure anyone into his car.

    Shortly after that, I was riding my bike in a nearby suburb and saw two young children, who looked about 2 and 4, who were obviously on the loose, riding their tricycles down the middle of the street. I thought of the story about the Good Samaritan in Philly and did nothing to help those kids, wanting to preserve my freedom if not my life. Cold, but that is the consequence of living in this ?ber-paranoid society.

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