A young girl in California is under fire for a backseat prank that triggered a huge police response.
A girl held up a handwritten sign in the window of her car that said: "HELP ME SHE’S NOT MY MOM!! Help!!," California Highway Patrol (CHP) said Saturday on Facebook.
After police received calls alerting them to the sign, several CHP officers and a K-9 unit pulled the car over, according to the post.
It turns out, the girl "had made it all up and thought it was a fun thing to do." The mother, who was driving at the time, had no idea her daughter was holding up the sign and was not in on the prank. Ultimately, police determined there was "no foul play" and the mom and daughter were able to leave the scene.
However, the CHP issued a warning to other parents to pay attention to their kids in the car.
"This is a reminder that parents need to be aware of what their children are doing in the back seat at all times," the CHP said. "Six CHP units were assigned to this call instead of responding to legitimate calls or patrolling their beats because of this hoax."
More than 2,000 people have responded to the CHP's Facebook post as of Monday, may of whom felt it wasn't fair to criticize the mom, who was focused on the road. Some accused the police of "mom-shaming."
"The parent was driving. How do you expect her to be responsible and drive without distractions if you also want her to be focusing on a teenager in the back of the car that I can assume she thought was being well behaved? Not fair to mom shame," one commenter wrote.
Others, however, did think the child, whose age was not revealed by police, needed punishment to learn that this kind of prank is unacceptable.
"I think her daughter should have to do community service for that! She needs to know that is not funny," another commenter said.