It seems right out of a particularly mean-spirited Groucho Marx routine: A little boy sped through some plastic curtains, knocking them into the face of a pregnant woman eating near the door.
The boy was rushing to collect some chopsticks from his parents, who own the spicy hot pot outlet, local media reported.
The boy's breezy entrance caused the young woman to spill some food. So as the 4-year-old ran back out the door, the woman stuck her foot out to trip him.
The toddler went flying, landing on his belly. Doctors later confirmed he had a concussion.
The episode, which took place last Friday in China's Shaanxi province, was caught on security camera.
And it has quickly made the rounds on the country's social media. The clip has been shared on Weibo at least 67 million times. One comment about the “Bad Mom To Be,” collected from the What's on Weibo website, sums up a common sentiment: "I think this pregnant woman is overreacting. The child is still young and ignorant. You can tell him off, but you can’t tackle him. He is carrying chopsticks in his hand — what if you’d really hurt him? You’ll be a mother soon, aren't you afraid of your own children being harmed? Your aggression is not good for you baby. You're an adult — shame on you!"
The story has since been covered by several Chinese media outlets.
After the boy told his mother what happened, she pulled the CCTV footage to confirm, then called the police. “At first I thought my boy tripped himself, but later he told me that the woman tripped him, which was confirmed by other customers in the shop,” the boy's mother told the China Youth Daily, according to the South China Morning Post. “I checked the CCTV and was so angry that I called the police.”
The woman later turned herself in and apologized. She offered to pay the boy's medical expenses, and was given a short, suspended police sentence and a $158 fine.
According to local news outlets, the boy's mother has said she is satisfied with the outcome and glad the woman won't go to jail. “We do not wish to affect her,” she told China Youth Daily. “I have children myself. I can understand.”