A plane passenger shared a viral story about a dad 'shirking his responsibilities' who refused to swap seats with her, leaving the mom to deal with the kids alone

  • A TikToker shared a story about a dad who she believed shirked his parenting responsibilities while on a flight.

  • Kristine McLellan said she offered to switch seats with him so he could be seated next to his family — and he refused.

  • The viral moment divided opinion, with a handful of commenters defended the dad in the situation.

A plane passenger has doubled down on her decision to call out a man on her flight who sat apart from his family while the mom looked after the kids. While some commenters defended the dad, the passenger said it showed him avoiding his parenting duties.

On September 3, Kristine Sostar McLellan, who goes by the username @one_toughmother on TikTok, shared a video she took while on a flight back in March. She told Insider the flight was on Flair Airlines heading from Las Vegas to Vancouver.

"I was seated next to a mom who had a baby in her lap and a toddler beside her. It was a lot," read an on-screen caption on the post, which has been viewed over 4.5 million times.

McLellan said she offered to switch seats with the father of the children, who was seated a few rows away, so he could be next to his family. According to the caption, the man said, "Great, thanks," to her offer, but then sent another child who was with him instead. The man stayed put in his original seat.

"He enjoyed a kid-free flight," the caption concluded.

"A little sunday rage for ya #momsoftiktok #deadbeatdad," a subsequent caption under the post read.

In a follow-up post on September 7, McLellan said she did not realize the man was part of the woman's family initially. It was only when she witnessed the woman boarding and struggling to put her luggage in the overhead compartment and the man continually asking her for his things, she claimed, that she connected the dots.

In the comments of her viral video, many people did not approve of the way the man responded to the situation and said they've witnessed similar scenarios play out on other flights.

"I'm a flight attendant and I've seen sooo many mothers looking after the kids the whole flight while the father sits away or doesn't help," one top commenter wrote, "it's crazy."

"DIVORCE," as another person stated more succinctly, received over 11,000 upvotes.

However, some commenters then sympathized with the dad. They suggested if he swapped seats, it could have put him in another difficult situation, as he would be leaving his other child with a stranger.

"Did anybody think about how the dad didn't wanna leave the kid to sit alone?" one commenter asked.

A small handful of other users also speculated on reasons why he responded the way he did.

"What if he were the stay at home dad and mom was finally looking after the kids so he could have a break?" read one comment with 2,316 likes. The same commenter later wrote in a reply that all the comments were from "women hating men."

One person criticized the creator for "assuming the worst about a family they know nothing about."

McLellan told Insider that she's received several "affirming" but sad comments from people "who have experiences like that in their day-to-day life with their partners."

In her follow-up video, she reiterated that the incident was real and defended her choice to call it out, while briefly discussing the hardships of motherhood, as she's a mom herself.

She said she felt that her video was received differently by men and women and that she felt men were going out of their way to defend the dad in the story. It is not clear from the user's comments section whether the people defending the dad were predominantly men.

McLellan said she felt the dad was "shirking his responsibilities," and that when she offered to swap seats, she did not know there was another child sitting next to him, but she wishes she had rescinded the offer.

"The only reasonable option for him in this situation was for him to say, 'No thank you, I'm actually sitting here with my other child, thanks anyway,'" she said.

She also responded to commenters she felt were questioning her reasoning for posting the video: "I care because I am a mom, and I have been there with a husband who co-parents and doesn't take advantage of situations, and it is still hard to be a mom."

"I think it's perfectly fair to put this situation on blast," she continued. "Remember, there's no picture of this guy, you don't know who it is, nobody's being called out. This is just a scenario that happened that we should all be equally repulsed by, and the fact that you're not says a lot about you."

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