Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mom shredded for refusing to return her shopping cart doubles down on live TV, dismisses ‘social niceties’

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The California mother who went viral for refusing to return her shopping cart at the grocery store defended herself on live TV over the weekend after drawing sharp critiques online.

Dr. Leslie Dobson, a married mom of two, made headlines last week after she declared in a viral TikTok video, “I’m not returning my shopping cart, and you can judge me all you want.

Dobson explained that by the time she loads her groceries into the car and buckles in her children, she is not “leaving them in the car to go return the cart.”

“So if you’re gonna give me a dirty look, f— off,” she says in the video, which garnered over 11 million views.

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A TikToker and mother offered her take on shopping cart etiquette. (Drlesliedobson TikTok page)

After receiving backlash on social media, Dobson posted a follow-up video, where she argued that “Last year, 265 children were abducted in parking lots in America, [and] half of those were sexually assaulted.

“As a single mom returning your shopping cart, you are prime for a predator to watch and grab you,” she said.

Her number appears to come from a fact sheet from the organization Kids and Car Safety, which reports that 265 cars had been stolen with children alone inside in 2022, though not all in parking lots. The organization does not mention sexual assault but says most of the time thieves don’t realize a child was in the car and subsequently abandon the car or the child on the side of the road. 

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Despite being labeled “lazy,” “entitled” and a “Karen” online, the unapologetic mom doubled down on her position during a local TV interview over the weekend, urging others to avoid choosing “social niceties” over protecting their children.

“Coming from the mindset of someone who has worked with predators for 20 years, I know how they think, and I know what they look for, and that is a vulnerable moment,” she told KTLA 5 Weekend Morning News.

Shopping cart in parking lot

The return of shopping carts has been touted by many social media users as an indicator of a polite society. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images)

“When you return to your car, you have already been watched for a significant amount of time, so if you are choosing social niceties over protecting your children, I just wanted to say that you don’t have to.”

She said she was “shocked” by the initial response to her video, but maintained that her position is centered around child safety.

“I am shocked, but I am also very happy, because I’ve received hundreds — maybe to the point of even thousands – of messages from moms saying, ‘I pulled into the spot, I’m looking at my surroundings, and I’m more aware now.’ I know the video was provocative, but that’s what I wanted… I wanted to grab attention. It’s the bigger picture of ‘We need to empower ourselves to trust our intuitions,'” she said.

“We have taken power back from predators because now, this is a worldwide conversation, which I am shocked by,” she added. “But honestly, if we have awareness, then that predator isn’t going to be able to do what he intended.” 

When she is not with her children, Dobson said she does in fact return her shopping cart to the designated areas.

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“I always return my shopping cart, but if I don’t feel safe and my kids are in the car, they are my priority,” she said. “I’m putting it somewhere safe and prioritizing the safety of my kids.” 

Fox News’ Alexander Hall contributed to this report.

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