A child’s curiosity may indeed be natural, and in some cases apparently, quite expensive.
One need only ask the Goodman family about the potential repercussions of unadulterated curiosity as they face a $132,000 after their son hugged a glass sculpture during a recent wedding reception, toppling it onto himself before it struck the ground.
The event took place last month at Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, reports CBS4. The child’s mother, Sarah Goodman, relays her version of events as they played out.
“We heard a bunch of commotion and I thought, ‘Whose yelling at my son?’ This glass mosaic torso is laying on the ground and someone is following me around demanding my personal information.”
The surveillance footage available does show the boy, Troy, and what appears to be a second boy playing in various rooms throughout the community center, approaching the pedestal holding the artwork several times as adults look on. Returning to the room later, Troy stands up and hugs the statue as the other boy looks on, eventually, the weight is too much to bear, and the sculpture topples over onto Troy and then clean to the ground.
Soon after the incident occurred, the Goodman family got a letter in the mail from an insurance company claiming they were negligent due to the fact that their children were, at the time, unsupervised.
“My children are well supervised but all people get distracted.” Goodman stated to KSHB.
Fingers are now pointed in various directions as to where the blame should ultimately lie, with the City of Overland Park having filed the insurance claim, and the subsequent insurance company having reached out to the Goodman’s, suggesting the financial onus lies with them.
“It was a piece that was loaned to us that we are responsible for. That’s public money,” city spokesperson Sean Reilly argued. “We are responsible to protect the public investment.”
Reilly went on, defending the layout of the art exhibit as it stood previous to the accident. “There’s a societal responsibility that you may not interact with it if it’s not designed for interaction,” he said.
Sarah Goodman disagrees, having several contentions with this framing of the issue, arguing that the glass sculpture should have had greater protections and safety considerations in place given the high value placed on the art.
“It’s in the main walkway. Not a separate room. No plexiglass. Not protected. Not held down,” she stated. “There was no border around it. There wasn’t even a sign around it that said, ‘Do not touch.'”
Goodman was further perturbed, noting that during all of the commotion, nobody had come forward to ask about whether her son was okay or if he had been injured.
Several logical questions are posed by the parents and their line of thinking. The surveillance footage corroborates their claim that the glass sculpture was unsecured and placed on a small pedestal bereft of any protective barrier. Nothing anchors the sculpture either to the base or the wall it rests upon. If wedding receptions are indeed held here, and this is allegedly the case for the event underway in which the accident occurred, it seems ill-advised that an artifact worth six-figures be displayed in this manner at a social function where alcohol may be served or imbibed regardless of whether a cash bar is present.
Common sense seems to dictate that children will play, sometimes unsupervised, and that adults will follow suit if the social occasion calls for it, sometimes to excess. And sometimes, great mistakes like the one committed by Troy last month will happen, too.
Such questions or arguments in defense of the parents charged with the substantial cost of replacing the sculpture may be brought to formal examination as it appears that the family may seek legal representation and a court suit if the insurance companies do not relent in their pursuit of monies which the Goodman’s consider to be, in their words, “exorbitant.”