Costco Shopper Caught Allegedly Abusing Child in Video Viewed 13M Times

An alarming video, showing a mother allegedly abusing her son while in a Costco checkout line, is circulating on TikTok, catching the attention of authorities and governmental agencies in the process. So far, the clip has been viewed 13.6 million times since it was posted earlier this week, amassing over 1 million likes and nearly 40,000 comments.

Child abuse remains a pressing issue in the U.S. According to Statista, there were 656,243 reported cases of child abuse in 2019, with the most common type of abuse being neglect—and that number doesn't include the many more cases that remain unreported. The data also showed that the most prevalent perpetrator-victim relationship in child abuse cases is between a mother and child.

The clip, shared by TikToker Eileen Molina, was reportedly filmed at a Costco location in San Francisco, California. On-screen captions, written by Molina, read: "This lady at Costco started slamming this little kid around and saying horrible things to him!!"

The footage showed the woman in question checking out at the register, while a reported Costco worker off-camera says: "I'm recording you, lady, [because] this is definitely abuse." Behind the woman, a young boy stands with his head down and his arms wrapped around his body. "You know what?" replied the woman to the worker. "You're abusive. Get out of my face."

Off-camera, another voice warned the woman that they were calling the police. "I really don't care what you do, honestly," she said, shrugging her shoulders.

She then turned to the child. "Stop it!" she yelled at him. "People are calling the cops because you're acting like a moron."

The worker then intervenes again. "You slammed him against the wall and told him you're gonna punch him, in front of all these people," she said to the woman.

"Yes, I did," confirmed the woman. "I threatened my child." The video then ends with the woman picking up her child and carrying him away from the scene.

In a follow-up clip, Molina expanded on what happened before she started filming. According to her, the woman was angry because her child had been standing on the wrong side of the checkout line. "She's like, 'Get your a** over here,'" said Molina, describing the mother's reaction.

"She drags him to the other side [by] his sweater," explained Molina. "When they are done scanning her card, she turns [around] and still sees the kid just standing there and she grabs him from his jacket, his shoulder, and literally throws him up against the wall."

She continued: "And at this point, the kid bangs up against the wall, she comes up behind him, grabs his head, and just puts his head up against that plexi-glass wall." According to the TikToker, the woman's "body [came] behind him and [pressed] up against him." The woman then reportedly said to her child: "I'm gonna punch you in the face in front of all these f**king people."

"Immediately, I pull out my phone," said Molina, who added that she called and spoke to police about the incident.

"The lady is admitting that she threatened her kid," she said toward the end of the TikTok video. "The lady knew what she was doing, she left her groceries, and just proceeded to leave."

After going viral, the first clip found its way onto Twitter, prompting concerned users to alert the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) Twitter account. In response, the agency tweeted that they are "looking into" the incident.

However, they were unable to provide Newsweek with any additional details regarding the case. "We're committed to keeping children safe in San Francisco," an HSA spokesperson said in a statement. "Due to confidentiality and other provisions of law, we are unable to provide comment on a specific instance of abuse or allegation."

Viewers, meanwhile, were appalled by the clip and voiced their horror in the comments section.

"If she treats him like this in public, I can't imagine what she does in the privacy of her house," wrote @tx_momma78. "This poor boy!"

"His body language speaks volumes," added @taylor31211.

Costco Shopper
A recent TikTok showing a woman allegedly abusing her child in the checkout line of a Costco has caught the attention of law enforcement authorities. A Costco shopper in Arizona, 2008. Chris Hondros/Getty Images