Florida man Utpaul Patel, a good samaritan, was beaten up last Tuesday after helping the young girl locate her parents. Even worse, the good samaritan was shamed on Facebook in a post that went viral. The false accusations forced Patel and his family to move out of their Lakeland, Florida home.
Utpaul Patel was trying to help a 2-year-old girl find her family at Southwest Sports Complex in Lakeland last weekend. The girl’s father thought that Patel was abducting his daughter and that he was a predator. This led to the father beating up Patel, landing at least six punches against the alleged kidnapper, reports Daily Mail UK.
LPD Sgt. Gary Gross told Fox 13 News that “he saw that the child was in danger. She was wandering off and he did the right thing by going to her, getting her attention, trying to find the parents.” He adds, “We had an independent eyewitness that saw him walking around, asking, ‘Is this your parents? Is that your father?”
While Patel and the girl were looking around for her parents, Austin Strickland, the girl’s father, saw Patel and instantly assumed the worst and attacked. “You’re damn right [I punched him]. I wanted to kill the man. You just don’t take someone else’s kid and walk to the parking lot or walk in that direction,” says Strickland to Fox 13 News.
Strickland’s family and friends then took to Facebook to spread what they thought Patel was doing and within hours of the posts, posts warning people about Patel went viral and the good samaritan and his family were given threats. To help out Patel, the LakelandPD Facebook page posted all the facts they knew about the issue. The post even warned people that they should be very careful of sharing and believing whatever it is they see on Facebook.
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