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  • Bad Parents Bug Us

    | Southern California, USA | Family & Kids, Pets & Animals, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I am an intern giving a tour at my local zoo. The first stop is the butterfly & moth exhibit, where guests can go inside with animals. I give them the rules and instructions which include staying on the path/off the plants, no grabbing the animals, etc. Once we are inside, I see two children, approximately 6 and 8 years old, climbing all over the plants, trying to grab butterflies in their fists and bothering other guests. I do not see their mother, so I speak up.)

    Me: “Excuse me, boys. You need to stay on the path. You aren’t allowed to climb on the plants, and you definitely aren’t allowed to grab the animals like that.”

    (At that moment, their mom comes running out from behind a tree, clearly on her cell phone.)

    Mother: “Hey, you can’t tell my kids what to do! If there’s a problem you come talk to me!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I didn’t see you, and your children were damaging the exhibit.”

    Mother: “What?! No, they weren’t! They are angels!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but they were climbing all over the plants and crushing them. There were also trying to grab the butterflies, which we do not allow.”

    Mother: “So? My boys are having fun. They can do whatever they want!”

    Me: “No, they are not. We have rules, and if you cannot follow them, you will be asked to leave the butterfly house and you will not allowed to remain a part of this tour.”

    Mother: “Your rules don’t make any sense. You just want to stop everyone from having fun!”

    Me: “No, ma’am, but it is my job to ensure that guests do not damage the exhibit.”

    Mother: “But you can just plant more plants, and the butterflies will be fine!”

    Me: “The butterflies will most certainly not be fine! Grabbing them like that will kill them!”

    Mother: “KILL?! How dare you say that in front of my children?! You are damaging them for life!” *turns to her boys* “Don’t worry, she’s lying! The buggies will be fine. You just keep playing!”

    (Despite my warnings, the mother refuses to intervene, so I have her and her children removed from the park. As she is being escorted out by security, she turns to me.)

    Mother: “You’re nuts! They’re just stupid bugs!”

    (Not a smart thing to say to an entomology student.)