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Lauren Whitney’s heartbreaking plea to end panic-buying is quickly becoming one of the most talked about viral moments of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Washington, Utah mother of four shared a video of herself in distress to TikTok after attempting to buy diapers for her 18-month-old daughter, Rozalyn. Whitney recorded the video after she became frustrated when there were no diapers left in her daughter’s size.
In the video, Whitney films herself standing near the empty Walmart shelves, visibly upset that she can’t find what she needs for her daughter.
“So all you crazy people buying out all the diapers, how am I supposed to diaper my child if I can’t afford to buy 20 at a time like you can?” she says through tears in the video.
The video struck a chord with social media users, and quickly racked up more than 5 million views. Whitney said she decided to film herself after reaching her breaking point during a particularly stressful week.
“I was demoted at work for a really stupid reason, and it just kinda created stress,” she told TODAY Parents. “I went to a few other stores first. I ended up at Walmart and I was just looking for diapers...and there was just none in her size anywhere. And I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back for the week. And my emotions kind of bubbled up and I was like, ‘Somebody needs to hear this.’”
Whitney works part time at a movie theatre to help support her family, and has done so since her husband went back to school after serving in the military. Unlike some families, Whitney said she can’t afford to buy household necessities in bulk.
“There's so many people out there like myself that we, we don't get paid very much. So, you know, we're low income families and so it's hard for us to be able to just go out and buy a large amount of things at one time,” she said. “When we do have the funds to be able to go purchase things and it's not there for us to buy, it's very frustrating. So those people that are buying in bulk or that are clearing the shelves make it harder for those of us that either are low income or only get paid every two weeks or even once a month.”
Since posting the video, Whitney said she has received positive and supportive messages from people, some even offering to send her diapers.
“I had to respond to every single one saying, ‘Hey, we're fine. We're OK. I was able to find some,’ but it's so wonderful to see all the positive comments,” she said.
Unfortunately, she has also received cruel and hurtful comments from people telling her to “not have children if you can’t afford them.”
Whitney hopes that more people will think twice before they give in to panic buying and think of others before they buy in bulk.
“I’m really hoping that other people can just stop and think that there are other families out there that might also need things,” she said. “I just hope that people can understand that by purchasing 10 or 20 boxes at a time, it leaves nothing for those of us that can't do that.”