Garrett’s mom makes most helicopter moms look neglectful.
When 25-year-old Californian Garrett Hand failed to update his Facebook status for a month as he hiked through remote regions in Peru, his mom got really worried. So she called in the cavalry: the Peruvian government, military, embassy and tourism ministry all got involved to chill out “Garrett’s mom.”
In November, Hand and his 25-year-old girlfriend Jamie Neal embarked on a four-month biking and hiking trip in South America. Some of their journeying, they explained, would take them well out of World Wide Web range, and in January, they went off the grid. For weeks, “Garrett’s mom” tried and failed to engage her son in phone calls and Facebook dialogue. After four weeks of silence she decided to call in the Peruvian government, which then issued a missing person’s alert for the two.
“In late February, Garrett's mom called Peru and demanded they put Garrett on the phone to talk to her right this instant, or else they'd be in big trouble, mister,” wrote Gawker’s Caity Weaver, deliciously mocking the family.
Hand and Neal were blissfully unaware of Mama Bear’s efforts, hiking and biking in their tattered anarchist threads. Once the pair were spotted, the country’s minister of tourism and commerce issued this somewhat enterprising statement: “These two young people have fallen in love with Peru. They have visited off-the-beaten-path places and it seems like they’re having a blast – so much so that they have forgotten to communicate with their families.”
Mom wasn’t impressed or convinced, begging on a now deleted Facebook page, “Let me reiterate, until we have PROOF OF LIFE, we cannot celebrate these rumors and sightings. Proof of life is my son’s voice on the phone and a picture of him holding the missing poster.”
This week, the two returned to Facebook and made their humiliating phone call to mom: They’d been in the depths of the Amazon with zero electricity or Internet access. Peru’s tourism ministry again seized on the parenting fail to big-up the country, posting photos of the couple on an official Facebook page.
Only then was Mother Hand placated: “I am so happy today that my son is well. Now our family will have to process all of this, and I think this will take some time. I can’t wait to see Garrett and Jamie walking off the plane and into my arms,” she said in a statement.
Her daughter-in-law seemed repulsed by the nationwide manhunt, saying the attention was “insane” and that she’d likely delete her Facebook account once back in California.
Reaction ran the gamut between worried mothers defending the reaction, to children swapping war stories about their own overly invested progenitors. (Sample: “I am a responsible adult who has a salary job that is roughly 40km from my home. I am required to call my mom EVERY MORNING when I arrive at work.”)
Some thought the free-spirited lovebirds were at fault, not mom: “Being an adult means recognizing that there are people who care and worry about you, so ignoring them for an extended period of time in order to have a blast isn’t a good idea. An adult has responsibilities,” one joykill whinged.
Others saw it as a social media/travel story: “I remember back when you could drop off the face of the earth for weeks and months and people just thought ‘no news is good news.’ ”
Are there shades of your mother in Garrett’s mom?