Shanesha Taylor’s teary-eyed mug shot and subsequent story is serving as an internet touchstone of sorts. While some are flocking to the side of the then-homeless single mother of two, others are roundly condemning her for her actions – leaving her infants in a sweltering hot car to go on a job interview.
According to a report on April 7 from The Associated Press, as carried by the Huffington Post, the “Phoenix woman arrested after leaving her two kids in a hot vehicle during a job interview is fighting to clear her name in court, with the support of a New Jersey woman who has raised more than $91,000 to help her effort.”
In March, Shanesha Taylor went on an hour-long job interview for a position with an insurance company in Scottsdale, Arizona, leaving a 2-year-old son and 6-month old baby in her Dodge Durango with the widows rolled down only an inch. Officials said the temperature inside of the car reached 100 degrees that day.
The AP report says:
A witness found the infant crying hysterically and sweating profusely… Taylor was arrested after returning to the vehicle, and her tearful mugshot later caught the attention of 24-year-old Amanda Bishop of New Jersey.
Bishop said she was inspired to set up a fundraising web page for Taylor, who is still unemployed and on food stamps, because she could relate to growing up in a family that doesn't have a lot of money.
“I had a mother and family in general who struggled raising us and had to rely on other resources to provide for us and sometimes made not the greatest choices,” Bishop said.
The fundraiser, set up on YouCaring.com, has raised over $96K for Taylor, completely blowing away the stated goal of $9,000 needed for Taylor’s bond, legal fees and immediate needs.
Taylor's fundraiser reads, in part:
There are some of us that feel that Shanesha was in an unfortunate situation that sadly an economy like ours is putting many single mothers in a position to make terrible mistakes like this. This fund raiser was set up in an effort to help Shanesha and her situation.
On March 31, Taylor wrote the following to the fundraiser’s site:
Thank you to all who love and support me. I am home and safe. I was released early this morning by the grace of god. And the charity of a wonderful church community here in Chandler, AZ. I appreciate everyone who felt move enough to help a complete stranger. I LOVE you all. As to the comments that this fund is fraudulent, please understand there are a lot of people looking to profit from my misfortune. This fund is absolutely real and my first disbursement is pending in my account. Again thank you all for you support. My family and I greatly appreciate it.
County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he understands the human interest side of Taylor’s story, but that the single mother still jeopardized the lives of her children, and that she must be held accountable.
“Everything is focused on the mother and understandably so. It seems to be a very compelling human interest story,” Montgomery said. “But I'm equally concerned and compelled about the circumstances those two children were in.”
On Monday, Taylor pleaded not guilty to two counts of child abuse.
Where do you fall on this story? Leave your opinion of Taylor’s actions, and the fundraising done on her behalf, in comments below.