A four-and-a-half-minute Facebook video that shows a little girl trying to wake her nearly unconscious mother on SEPTA's Route 66 bus has attracted the attention of Philadelphia police and the Department of Human Services.
Police spokesman Lt. John Stanford said today that the Special Victims Unit is working with DHS to identify and track down the woman, whose mouth hangs open throughout the video while she continually nods off in her seat as the bus rumbles along Frankford Avenue.
The little girl, who was seated across the aisle, is shown reaching out several times and trying to prop up her mother's head.
"Mama," the girl says. Mama!"
The woman yells briefly, but continues to slump forward in her seat.
The video has been shared more than 14,000 times since it was posted Thursday on the "People of Septa" Facebook page by a user named John Warren, who wrote: "[route] 66 junkie. I feel so bad for the daughter."
Others posted the video on the Police Department's Facebook page, Stanford said.
"It's disturbing to see that little girl," he said. "She can't be more than 8 or 9 years old."
DHS spokeswoman Alicia Taylor said some Facebook users have identified the mother; the agency is trying to verify whether the name that was posted on the site is accurate.
"Our Facebook page has gotten a lot of comments from people who are asking us to do something," Taylor said.
"It's sad that people stood by and nobody reported this when it happened," she continued. "Child abuse is a community problem. If you see something, you have to say something. People sat by on the bus, and no one called police, and no one called us."
-- David Gambacorta