"I Bet He Likes You": Post From Central Ohio Parent Goes Viral

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A post by a central Ohio mother about a comment made by a Nationwide Children’s Hospital employee has gone viral.

Facebook user Merritt Smith posted a photo of her daughter after she claims the child was hurt by a male student and taken to the hospital.

The post reads that a male employee at the registration desk made the comment “I bet he likes you.”

“Dear man at the registration desk at Nationwide Children's hospital, l'm positive that you didn't think that statement through. As soon as I heard it I knew that is where it begins. That statement is where the idea that hurting is flirting begins to set a tone for what is acceptable behavior. My four year old knows "That's not how we show we like someone. That was not a good choice."

In that moment, hurt and in a new place, worried about perhaps getting a shot or stitches you were a person we needed to help us and your words of comfort conveyed a message that someone who likes you might hurt you. No. I will not allow that message to be ok. I will not allow it to be louder than "That's not how we show we like each other." At that desk you are in a position of influence, whether you realize it or not. You thought you were making the moment lighter. It is time to take responsibility for the messages we as a society give our children. Do not tell my 4 year old who needs stitches from a boy at school hitting her "I bet he likes you." NO.”

As of Friday afternoon, Smith's post has been shared more than 21,000 times.

A spokesperson with Nationwide Children’s confirmed that an employee did make the statement to the child.

The hospital released this statement Friday afternoon on its Facebook page:

We thank you for being engaged members of our community and for always advocating on behalf of children and families – we share and value your commitment to always be a positive voice. We are aware of a recent comment made by a member of our staff to a family seeking care. Although we know the comment was made with no malicious intent, it is our wish to apologize and express to you that this is something we are taking seriously. This comment does not represent our philosophy as an institution.

Since Tuesday, October 6, we have reached out to the family, met with the employee and their management team, as well as our leadership in order to understand the situation and take measures to prevent this from happening again.

Thank you again for your support and your concern - we sincerely appreciate the compassion fostered through this community every day.