A California woman has been dubbed "Permit Patty" online after she was captured on cell phone video calling police on an 8-year-old girl selling water outside her San Francisco apartment building.
The incident happened Friday near AT&T Park where the Giants play. The young girl was on the sidewalk outside her apartment building selling water to raise money to help her mother pay for a trip to Disneyland.
That's when, according to the girl's mother, Alison Ettel, approached them and said she was calling the police on 8-year-old Jordan for not having a permit.
Ettel told NBC's "Today" show she was working from home and Jordan's sales pitch was "loud and disruptive."
"I had to tried to be polite but I was stern I said, 'Please I’m trying to work, you’re screaming, you're yelling, and people have open windows. It’s a hot day. Can you please keep it down,'" Ettel said.
But Erin Austin, Jordan's mother, refuted Ettel's account, saying "she never asked us to be quiet. She just came out and directly demanded to see a permit to sell water from an 8-year-old."
It was not immediately clear what happened before the video began recording. The now-viral video posted to Austin's Instagram begins with Ettels walking away from Austin then being seen crouching behind a stoop. Ettels appears to be talking to someone on her cell phone as Austin follows her.
"This woman don’t want to let a little girl sell some water. She be calling police on an 8-year-old little girl,” the woman filming can be heard saying. "You can hide all you want, the whole world gon’ see ya, boo."
"Yeah and, um, illegally selling water without a permit?” Ettel can be heard saying on the phone.
Austin posted the video to her Instagram with the caption: "an 8-year-old selling water in front of her apartment building where she’s lived her whole life is NOT a reason to call the Police." She also called the woman "#PermitPatty."
The post quickly went viral and sparked outrage online, with many accusing Ettels of racism.
Ettels told "Today" she only called police to ask if it was legal to sell water without a permit where the mother and daughter were positioned along the street and claimed the incident was not racially motivated.
"I want the mother to know this was nothing to do with race at all. It had everything to do with the disturbance," Ettels told "Today." "I was very stressed out. I definitely made comments that I never would have in any other situation, and it's not an excuse."
Ettel said before confronting Jordan and Austin she asked a security guard to ask them to quiet down. Ettel added that she could not see who the people, she could only hear them.
The security guard later told Ettel he could not get them to move and wasn't able to do anything further regarding the incident.
Ettel said she then called police to ask if the water could be sold without a permit. She alleges police told her it was illegal to do so and asked if she wanted law enforcement officials to respond to the scene, but she declined.
But an SFPD spokeswoman told NBC News, that there was no immediate record of any calls that were made to their department from Ettel.
Austin said she is upset that her daughter had to experience this negative interaction with Ettel.
"I didn't think in San Francisco my biracial child would have to go through something like this," Austin said.
But Jordan may not need to sell bottles of water to raise money for a Disney trip anymore. The company has reached out to the family and offered them free tickets to visit the theme park.
Meanwhile, Ettel said she has received hate mail and death threats since the video was posted, noting that her address and phone number have been made public.
Looking back, Ettel admitted that she wishes she would have never brought up the permit issue when confronting Austin. She said she just wanted them to quiet down.
"I'm not proud of how I acted," Ettel said. "I would have taken a walk. I would have done something, not that. It was all in the heat of the moment, and it was wrong."
The viral video reached pop culture status over the weekend, getting spoofed by "Saturday Night Live" cast member Cecily Strong. In a video posted to Strong's Instagram account, the comedian, donning a blond wig, calls police on a boquet of flowers that is "illegally drinking my water."