By the time 9-year-old Landon Cunningham looked up from his phone last Saturday afternoon, he had already been saved from injury. The outstretched muscular arm of his quick-acting father Shaun, 37, saved Landon from a hospital visit during a Pittsburgh Pirates-Atlanta Braves spring training game in Kissimmee, Florida, and a photo of the incident quickly went viral.
“I was just protecting my son. There wasn’t a lot of time to think about it. I just reacted,” Shaun told the Tribune-Review on Monday. “I’m a little bruised, but I’ll survive. I’ve been through worse.”
That should have been the end of a feel-good story. But, Twitter users took the photo and used it as an opportunity to condemn a child for looking at his phone during a game, turning Landon into symbol of a new generation that’s addicted to the glow of smartphones and unable to live and appreciate “the moment.”
Landon was cast as a “phone-junkie kid”:
— Sam Laird (@samcmlaird) March 7, 2016
He was laughed at for being unaware of his surroundings:
So caught up in his phone he didn’t even realize he was about to be demolished by a baseball bat 😂 pic.twitter.com/tKzODnAOcj
— Haley Darr (@yelahdarr) March 8, 2016
And adults passed judgement because they’re adults on the Internet, and that’s what what adults on the Internet do:
— Jesse Haley (@jhaley617) March 7, 2016
Get off your damn phone at the game kid https://t.co/D93DcmL9CE
— Curtis Silver (@cebsilver) March 7, 2016
Is it wrong for me to wish that kid got hit in the face with the baseball bat? Should have put down the phone and watched the game.
— asswell (@GlobeX_Hank) March 7, 2016
What’s lazier, however, than a kid on smartphone is making negative broad-stroke assumptions about a child caught in a dangerous moment.
The reality is Landon was looking at his phone for a reason that anyone who’s ever snapped a photo at an event can relate to: He was texting a picture he had just snapped to his mother. Saturday’s exhibition was Landon’s first professional baseball game — a birthday gift from his parents — and he wanted to share the moment with his mom, like any person young or old would want to do.
So before you pass judgement on others, you might want to get the whole story first.
This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.