One mom from North Carolina is getting buzz online during the coronavirus outbreak.
On April 4, Kelly Hogan Painter — a 35-year-old mother of three from Stallings ― needed to go to the grocery store.
“We have a 2-year-old son that has autism and very bad sensory issues with food,” Painter told HuffPost. “And chicken nuggets is one of the only things that he eats.”
But getting her toddler some deliciously breaded poultry wasn’t the only issue Painter faced that day. Her mother-in-law had informed Painter and her husband via text that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was recommending that everyone wear a facemask in public settings.
“Of course my husband takes his mom’s advice to heart and seriously wasn’t going to let me go out without one,” Painter said. “Like what full-time mom … would keep masks stocked at home?”
Painter had to think fast — so she decided to take advantage of her kids’ love for the “Toy Story” franchise. “We pretty much have anything ‘Toy Story’ within reach at home,” she said.
So she grabbed a kid-size Buzz Lightyear helmet — complete with a retractable shield — and put it on.
“It was Buzz or Chewbacca,” she said. “And Buzz was more practical.”
And that was it. Painter was leaving the house, no matter how silly she may have looked.
“[My son] was getting chicken nuggets if my life depended on it,” she said. “I love my family way more than I love my reputation.”
While Painter was in the parking lot of the grocery store, she decided to record a video of herself sporting her out-of-this-world facemask, and then she posted it to Facebook.
“I’m going in,” Painter says in the video, after bringing down the shield.
The video quickly went viral, receiving over a thousand reactions and 2.7 thousand shares.
While we at HuffPost are not medical experts and cannot recommend using a child’s Buzz Lightyear helmet as a protective mask during the pandemic, it seems to be working out for Painter. So much so that she said she never leaves the house without it anymore.
“Anytime that I have to be around human beings other than my family, I stay ‘Buzzed’ up,” she said.
Though her choice of a mask is certainly amusing (and is easy enough to keep clean — Painter said she disinfects it with a wipe with every use), it does have it’s downsides.
Painter said wearing it is akin to “wearing a neck brace.” She doesn’t have great peripheral vision in it and — as you can imagine — it does get very hot when the shield is down.
“It gets pretty steamy up in there,” she admitted. “But if no one is close to me, then I can open it and it’s fine.”
There’s no denying this: Painter loves her kids from infinity to beyond.