Leslie Dobson, a Los Angeles-based psychologist, has sparked a nationwide debate over the seemingly mundane task of returning shopping carts. Dobson’s initial TikTok rant, where she boldly stated, “I’m not returning my shopping cart, and you can judge me all you want”, posted Tiktok Video which quickly went viral, amassing nearly 12 million views. Her candid admission was made under the premise of prioritizing her children’s safety over returning the cart.

During an appearance on KTLA 5 Weekend Morning News, Dobson reiterated her stance, explaining her actions during a grocery run. “I’m not getting my groceries into my car and getting my children into the car and then leaving them in the car,” she declared, addressing the criticism of being perceived as lazy or entitled by some viewers. Despite facing a severe backlash, including death threats and doxxing, Dobson emphasized the positive impact of her message, noting that many mothers have reached out to support her increased safety awareness.

Dobson also highlighted a frightening statistic in her defense, claiming that 265 children were abducted from parking lots last year, with many incidents occurring during moments such as returning a shopping cart. This data, she mentioned, aligns with research from the nonprofit Kids and Car Safety, which tracks incidents involving children during vehicle theft attempts. Her argument pivots on the potential dangers that such moments of vulnerability can present to unsuspecting parents and their children.

The psychologist’s comments have sparked a significant online debate, with many criticizing her for what they see as irresponsible behavior, while others empathize with her protective instincts. On KTLA, Dobson pushed back against the criticism by sharing personal stories of families affected by parking lot abductions, urging parents to “trust your intuition not judgments of others.”

Amid the controversy, Dobson clarified her broader intention behind the viral video. “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 explained. Dobson, who has spent two decades working with predators, argued that understanding predator behavior has informed her cautious approach to seemingly simple tasks like returning a shopping cart.

In conclusion, Dobson admitted that while she does return the cart under safe circumstances, her priority remains her children’s safety. “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 stated, underscoring the complexity of parental responsibilities in public spaces. Her stance has not only fueled a fiery debate but also shifted some perspectives on everyday safety and parental priorities.



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