Kristine Sostar McLellan, who goes by the username @one_toughmother on the platform, posted a video while on a plane from Las Vegas to Vancouver. On the flight, she was seated next to a mother who was accompanied by a toddler and a baby sitting on her lap.
“It was a lot,” she wrote in the text across the screen. McLellan then explained that she noticed that the children’s father was a few rows away, so she said she offered to swap seats with him to be near his family. “Great, thanks,” he replied.
But, instead of him taking the seat next to the mother, he sent who she assumed to be another one of the couple’s children to take the seat, while the father stayed in his original seat. “He enjoyed a kid-free flight,” the TikToker wrote in the text across the screen.
“A little Sunday rage for ya #momsoftiktok #deadbeatdad,” she captioned the video.
The video was met with so many questions about the situation that McLellan then posted a follow-up video a few days later, in which she said that she originally did not know the man was part of the mother’s family until she noticed her struggling to get her luggage in the overhead bin while he continuously asked for his items.
McLellan added that she would have rescinded her offer to swap seats had she known another child would have taken her seat. “The only reasonable option in this situation was for him to say: ‘No thank you, I’m actually sitting here with my other child,’” she said.
The TikToker explained that a lot of comments on her original video questioned why she was so passionate about bringing attention to the event, to which she said that she is also a mother and has “been there”.
"I think it’s perfectly fair to put this situation on blast," she continued. "Remember, there’s no picture of this guy, you don’t know who it is, nobody’s being called out. This is just a scenario that happened that we should all be equally repulsed by, and the fact that you’re not says a lot about you."
Commenters on the original video were split, with some agreeing with McLellan, while others argued with the TikToker.
“I’m a flight attendant and I’ve seen soooo many mothers looking after the kids the whole flight while the father sits away or doesn’t help. It’s crazy,” one comment read.
Another viewer agreed in support of the TikToker, writing: “If my husband was like that we would be divorced before landing.”
“That was so nice of you, as a fellow mom I appreciate it. He prob couldn’t leave the small kid by themselves and should have just declined,” another person agreed.
However, one person criticised the creator for “assuming the worst about a family they know nothing about”.
Other commenters came up with possible scenarios for why the father needed “a break”. “What if he were the stay at home dad and mom was finally looking after the kids so he could have a break?” one commenter wrote.