When professional baseball player Anthony Bass took to Twitter to express his outrage regarding United Airlines flight attendants making his pregnant wife clean up their kids’ mess of popcorn off the plane floor, he may not have known he was sparking the flame to a heated debate about parenting responsibilities while flying with children — but that’s exactly what happened.
The Tweet That Started the Debate
The Toronto Blue Jays pitcher shares daughters Brooklyn, 5, and Blaire, 2, with his wife Sydney, who happens to be the sister of country musician Jessie James Decker.
Bass tweeted a photo of his kids entertaining themselves in their seats with some popcorn scattered around them, writing, “The flight attendant @united just made my 22 week pregnant wife traveling with a 5 year old and 2 year old get on her hands and knees to pick up the popcorn mess by my youngest daughter. Are you kidding me?!?!”
Outraged on Behalf of Her Sister
Decker also flew to her sister’s defense, writing in a now-expired Instagram Story, per PEOPLE, “My sister @sydneyraebass just texted me from her flight on @united. As you know, she is five months pregnant, high-risk, and also traveling alone with her two small children.”
The fellow mom continued, “Blaire accidentally spilled some popcorn in the aisle, and the flight attendant came up to Sydney with a trash bag and a wet wipe, telling her the captain wants Syd to clean up every drop.”
“My poor sister is on her hands and knees, crying in the aisle, completely humiliated and exhausted, with her children while everyone else watched,” Decker wrote, adding, “Way to go, United.”
The “Lights Down Low” singer asked Sydney where she got the popcorn for the girls, and the pregnant mom revealed that the flight attendants passed out the snack. Upon divulging this information, Decker wrote, “You guys, this whole time I’m thinking that this popcorn is something Sydney just picked up at the little newsstand. Sydney had two flights, and United, on the first flight, they gave them both popcorn,” she explained.
After relaying that the flight attendant told her sister that popcorn left on the ground would present a “safety hazard,” the singer added, “If popcorn is a hazard, why are they giving it on planes? Y’all, this is just…”
The Internet — and Chrissy Teigen — Weigh In
Over the course of two days, Bass’s tweet has garnered 55.3 million views, nearly 15,000 quote tweets, and so many replies that the baseball pro has turned off further responses.
An overwhelming majority of people criticized the dad for his take on the situation, with a pilot tweeting, “Commercial airlines are not your children’s playground. Pick it up and take responsibility for your kids.”
Another person added to the thread, writing, “Hey @united, I’m about to board one of your flights and I SURE HOPE you’ve given this flight attendant a raise and a day off. They’ve earned it and you’ve got a ton of people watching to see if you’ll do the right thing, or reward the wrong behavior of a rich, entitled white guy.”
A similarly critical tweet read, “This is the most pretentious, arrogant, self-absorbed tweet of all time. How dare parents have to clean up after their children’s mess?” and another echoed its sentiment with “Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean everyone is your servant. I hope this helps.”
“UMMMM 22 weeks? Get over yourself,” wrote one woman. “Pregnant women lift weights, run corporations, work in fields and take care of a lot of things. That small mess shouldn’t be an issue. Take like 2 mins. Unless of course we’re raising our kids to be entitled and we expect everyone to wait on us,” she added.
One user straight-up asked Bass, “Genuinely curious who should clean up the mess your 2 year old made? As a parent of three kids I am the one responsible for them.” He responded, “The cleaning crew they hire!”
The queen of Twitter herself (Chrissy Teigen, of course) weighed in, quote tweeting Bass’s tweet with “Oh man this is exactly the kind of tweet twitterers love. god speed, friend.” She does know a thing or two about being mom-shamed by the internet, after all.
However, Some People Did Sympathize
While almost every response was a scathing criticism of the upset parents’ disbelief, there were a few users who agreed that the flight attendant was a bit harsh with Sydney being pregnant.
One woman wrote, “I think it’s disgusting that the stewardess made a pregnant woman clean up a mess if they’re going to supply popcorn on the airplane be ready for messes to clean up if you don’t like it, don’t serve popcorn.”
A man responded similarly, tweeting, “the crew should run a vacuum. no way any parent especially a late-second-trimester mom should be cleaning the floor.”
Another user agreed, writing, “This does feel wrong. No one ever expects a family to clean the floor in a restaurant when kids make a mess. This is a far more expensive service, and it seems they should be vacuuming the floor between flights at a bare minimum anyway. I guarantee this is not the only debris on the floor of the entire airplane.”
A day after his original tweet, Bass wrote another in which he thanked people for their support and added, “United Airlines is taking care of matters with the flight attendant internally.” The comments are pretty ruthless under that tweet as well, making it clear that the majority of the internet is labeling the Bass family as “rude” and “entitled,” in their own words.
What’s your take on this situation, considering the parent in question is 5 months pregnant and was traveling solo with her two young children? Should she get a pass, or should parents be responsible for cleaning up after their kids — no matter what?
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