After a photo of a little girl riding on the back of a motorcycle hit social media — along with outrage over a girl that young being allowed to do something so dangerous — her Texas mom got wind of the controversy.
And she hit right back at her critics.
"Some of you may have seen this picture on Facebook, and some of you may have even seen this in person," Mallory Torres of Corpus Christi wrote on her own Facebook page Friday. "It was posted in a motorcycle group by a fellow motorist. This is my 7 year old daughter riding home from school on a motorcycle. Yes. She's 7, and she's on a motorcycle. 'Why?' Some of you may ask... Because I love my daughter. That's right... I LOVE MY DAUGHTER and she loves to ride, so I allow her to ride on the back of a motorcycle in full gear with my boyfriend who has 20+ years of experience. This was not her first time, she has had experience. I followed closely behind on her first ride, and I as a mother, felt that she did great and that she could handle it again. She also wants a bike of her own which is why we AS PARENTS feel the need to give her as much passenger riding experience as possible before she is allowed to ride on her own."
Torres acknowledged that the activity is dangerous — then came back with an argument of her own, asking, "how many times has your child gotten a bruise, scrape, or hell even a broken bone from a sport? Want to know how many MY daughter has had? Zero. That's right. NOT ONE SCRAPE, BUMP OR BRUISE from riding."
More from Torres' Facebook post, which has been shared more than 36,000 times as of Tuesday afternoon:
We've been called "bad parents" for allowing her to ride. Bad parents??? Hahahaha. NO. Our children are fed, they are happy, they are healthy, they are up to date on all of their shots and healthcare visits, they are punished when they misbehave and they are praised when they do good. They are EARLY every day to school, they do well in school, we are both stay at home parents that run a home based business together which means that WE raise or children. Not sitters or daycare. ... If you want to keep your child in a bubble, by all means go for it. If you wouldn't allow your child on the back of a motorcycle, then don't, that's your choice as a parent and I support you. But do not call us bad parents because we don't lock our kids in their bedroom with iPads and cell phones. Don't call us bad parents for allowing our children to experience LIVING. Don't call us bad parents for enjoying putting a smile on our kids face every now and then with a motorcycle ride home after school. I WILL continue to allow my daughter to ride if she wants to. I WILL continue to be the best parent I can be. I WILL continue to keep my kids happy and pray that they are safe whether it be at school, at home, at a friend's house, on the basketball court, or on a motorcycle. I'll tell you what i WON'T do though. I won't keep my child from riding just because a handful of close minded, ignorant people think they are the definition of a "perfect parent".
THERE IS NO POINT IN BEING ALIVE IF YOU AREN'T LIVING!!! #isupportmychildonabike
Here's a clip of Torres' daughter in full motorcycle passenger mode:
Chris Best — assistant news director for WMC-TV in Nashville and a motorcycle enthusiast who goes by Biker Dad in his spare time — interviewed Torres and her boyfriend, John Hays II, via Skype on Sunday.
After the interview was posted, comments came flooding in.
"Should be against the law," Michael Donnelly commented, Best noted. "People should go to jail or at least pay the state a large fine so they can learn their lesson."
Others were supportive of the couple. Stephenie Jonathan commented that "by the time my kids were old enough to talk they started learning motorcycle safety. I was born and raised a biker and my children will be as well. It's my job to prepare them for life, not hide them from it."
Best also found what Texas law says about kids as motorcycle passengers, noting the DMV says in part that a "passenger must be at least five years old. If the passenger is under 21 years old they must wear a helmet. If the passenger is 21 years old or older they may be exempt from wearing a helmet if they meet the exemption requirements."
Here's the Skype interview: