A black babysitter claims a woman called the police on him while two white children were in his care.
Corey Lewis of the US state of Georgia was babysitting a 10-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy on Sunday. They are children belonging to friends of his.
But after treating the kids to Subway, the 27-year-old, who runs youth mentoring program Inspired by Lewis, noticed a white woman sitting in her car staring at him.
“She pulled up alongside us and asked, ‘Are the kids OK?’” Mr Lewis told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“I answered, ‘Why wouldn’t they be?’ She just smirked and drove off.”
The woman circled the parking lot and returned to Lewis’s car, saying, “Can I ask the little girl if she knows who you are?” and Lewis answered, “No, you cannot.”
The woman then said, “OK, I will take down your licence plate,” and left.
“I asked a few white witnesses if it looked suspicious that I was caring for two white children, and they said ‘Kind of,’” Mr Lewis said.
“But the kids were goofing around and eating, and there was no sign of danger.”
Mr Lewis headed to a service station, and while he was pumping petrol, he noticed the woman’s car again. Concerned about the children’s safety, he drove to his house, and when he arrived, so did the woman — and a police car.
“I didn’t do anything — the police is here now!” Mr Lewis said in a Facebook Live video with more than 230K views.
“I’m being followed and harassed.”
In the video, the officer, whom Lewis says was courteous, spoke to the children, who confirmed Mr Lewis’s identity.
“Two white kids being with one black male is suspicious,” Mr Lewis scoffed in the video.
“I work with kids every day.”
The officer called the children’s mum Dana Mango who was aghast at the presumption of the 911 caller.
“I thought it was a joke,” Ms Mango told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“I said, ‘Is it because there’s an African-American male driving my kids around?’ and the officer, who was embarrassed and apologetic, said, ‘It appears so.’”
A representative from the Cobb County Police Department did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
The term babysitting while black is being used on Twitter to describe the incident.
Ms Mango said the experience frightened her children.
“My son said, ‘The woman followed us because we have peachy skin and Mr Lewis has brown skin, and she thought he was kidnapping us.’ They were both fearful that Corey wouldn’t be able to babysit them anymore.”
Ms Lewis, who works with a diverse set of children each day, told Yahoo Lifestyle, “A black man with white children just didn’t look right in this woman’s eyes.”