For most kids, a visit with Santa or the Easter Bunny is one of the fondest childhood memories. But for one three-year-old girl it proved to be traumatic.
The little girl (later identified as Suri Bryson) screamed for just a few seconds when she saw the Easter Bunny in her daycare classroom, but an employee of Around the World Learning Center in Kissimmee, Florida, posted the video on Snapchat despite her mother signing papers declining to allow her daughter’s pictures or video to be shared. Five years later, the lawsuit still dragged on.
The video generated 17 million social media views within months of the March 2018 incident. It was the focus of jokes by late-night television talk show hosts and the video was replayed innumerable times and unleashed a cascade of consequences that have still not been resolved. Cassandra Bryson was furious when she learned that the video had gone viral, and millions of people were laughing at the expense of her child.
She sued the daycare on behalf of her daughter, alleging negligence, invasion of privacy, and infliction of emotional distress. She told WESH 2 Investigates on Dec. 5, 2018, “I feel my child was in need and I wasn’t there, and when I’m not there, they’re there for me in so many words, and I truly do feel like they let me down.”
Attorneys later argued whether the girl had actually been harmed, with Around the World Learning attorney Kyle Wilhelm saying at a Dec. 27, 2021 hearing, “Neither the Easter bunny nor the employee physically impacted the child. There is absolutely no physical impact at the time of the negligence.”
At the same hearing, Bryson’s attorney, Scott Leeds, said, “The startling reaction, her jump from her chair, her knocking into the other chair, does satisfy the impact rule.”
The issue remained unresolved until now. Five years later, and just as mediation in the case had been scheduled for this month, both mom and daycare have settled for an undisclosed amount, according to documents filed in court.
The little girl, identified as “SW” in the lawsuit, is now 8 years old.