When this mom feels threatened by a stranger, she asks Reddit:
The other day I ran into a pharmacy for about 10 mins. I'm a mom. I had my two kids with me, (both 7). It was a cool November day, maybe 65 degrees out, and I was in a rush.
To be as quick as possible, I left them in the car. 4 windows cracked plenty of air to breathe but not enough space for an adult hand to get in. Door locked, keys with me.
Although legal (Kaitlyn’s Law), I know this is a controversial move, and some people may write me off immediately here. But please read on…
When I got into my car I heard someone yelling at me from the distance. He then rolled up next to my driver side door and started yelling at me. He came in hot, and I’ll paraphrase.
“You messed up and left the kids in the car. I’m a YouTuber and this is gonna be all over YouTube and Instagram. I got your kids climbing around your trunk and trying to start the car. You messed up today”.
My response was calm at first “my kids are fine. Worry about your own kids if you have them, but thanks for your concern”. It escalated.
He repeatedly told me I messed up and was a bad parent. I repeatedly told him that he explicitly couldn’t film my children or me.
I asked him to see his video and he said I had to pay him to delete it, or else d be able to see it on YouTube. I asked where I could see it on YouTube once posted and he wouldn’t tell me his handle.
He claimed if I could respond it would give me clout, and he didn’t want me having any clout on his back.
Then I started filming him… just in case.
Eventually his girlfriend came out of the store, sat next to him, and started filming me. While we were talking on camera together he actually said again that I needed to pay him to delete the video. So now HE “messed up today”.
So there’s actual blackmail evidence if I wanted to go that route (which I prefer not to).
Friends I’ve told have taken my side of course.
TBH there’s a part of me that thinks if this man had approached me differently, with good intentions, and an interest in educating me on better parenting, maybe I’d have listened and appreciated him.
I get the argument there, and don’t usually do this. But in my view he was trying to use this situation as a way to profit off of my family.
NTA anyone who records someone else’s children while their parents are not around to consent is a huge creep, even before the blackmail aspect of it
Parents gotta do what they gotta do sometimes.
OP needs to call the cops or a lawyer immediately. Hand over the video, get the blackmail/shakedown charge on the record first. It generally doesn't work as well if OP makes her claims afterwards.
Lawyer can get the guy's info and reach out to YouTube as well. YouTube tends to not like minors being exploited on their platform. Or rather, they don't like it when lawyers point out minors are being exploited on their platform.
You actually don't have any evidence that this guy is a YouTuber (or at least one with any sort of following) other than that he told you he was. I would either go to the cops with your evidence of blackmail or do nothing. Either way, stop worrying about this. NTA.
However, it sounds like you've learned a lesson about leaving your kids unattended in the car--you never know who will approach them and what their intentions are. Then there's weather issues, possibility they could hurt themselves or wander off, etc....