When a stranger makes a disparaging remark about his daughter, her father disciplines him

We realize throughout our lives that we truly never know what a person has gone through just by looking at them. We are taught as youngsters not to judge a book by its cover because you never know what the narrative inside is about. As we become older, we realize that this is also true for the people around us, since we never fully know the challenges they’ve conquered or the wins they’ve won until they tell us. When we let our judgments speak first, we sometimes have to learn this lesson the hard way.

Real life is never as it appears on the surface.
When parents are caring for a sick kid who cannot be identified at first appearance, they must sometimes take the time to convey that lesson to outsiders who pass judgment without knowing the complete story. If you are a parent, this may be a really challenging chore that demands a great deal of patience and compassion. When a stranger made a harsh statement to Brent Gehring and his 6-year-old daughter when they were out in Papillon, Nebraska, he had to decide if he was going to teach a lesson or cause a fight.

The exchange…
Brent’s daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with pilomyxoid astrocytoma, a kind of juvenile disease when she was only seven months old. Emma’s disability makes it difficult for her to go around without her walker, so her father, friends, and relatives must occasionally carry her. Brent and his family went out to dinner one night in Boston, and as he was carrying Emma across the street, a man decided to express his disdain at what he was seeing. Brent’s reaction to what happened next prompted him to post about it on Facebook, where it quickly went viral.

He remembers the guy yelling at him.

The other night, my daughter and I were leaving Union Oyster House in Boston, MA. Supper was provided by an excellent business and friend who has been a part of our «family» for years. She couldn’t walk without her walker when I carried her across the street. «What the F*+k?» shouted a man from 30 feet away. He screamed. «Force her to walk. That is what is wrong with today’s children. »

It’s time to make a decision: yell at him or give him a lesson.
Brent has been through enough while caring for his precious little girl; the last thing he wants as a father is to be yelled at for simply carrying his child. Not to mention, Emma has been battling a brain tumor and is currently undergoing her eighth round of chemotherapy. Brent now had to decide how to approach the scenario in front of him. He continues his Facebook post, recalling his choice.

At that moment, I had the decision to make. Can I make myself feel better by yelling at him, or can I give him a life lesson? I won’t lie and say it was an easy decision, but I approached within inches of his face, with my baby in my arms, and softly asked him whether he was referring to my daughter. «Hell yes,» he said.

So Brent took a big breath and decided to use this opportunity to tell his daughter’s tale while holding her in his arms.

I said, «My daughter has carried my faith and courage for the past 5 years since she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.» She can’t walk, but I’m glad to carry her because of all the wonderful things she’s taught me over the years. So, I would like you to be kind to my daughter when you talk to her.

He concludes his message by informing anyone who reads it that the narrative did not end there. The two guys agreed to get down and talk about real life and the importance of not passing judgment on others when we don’t know their entire story.

«I won’t tell you the remainder of the tale, but it concluded with two adult men crying their eyes out.» One who needed his eyes opened to the reality of real life and true love, and who is constantly reminded that good may emerge from any situation. This anecdote is only significant if it serves as a reminder that you don’t always have the full picture, so don’t pass judgment on others. »

Brent’s telling of this story to the world, as well as taking the time to show patience and compassion to one another, even when it is not reciprocated, serves as a reminder that this is how we can help each other grow better. Although we cannot understand how difficult this time was for Brent, we are thankful that he chose to share it with the rest of the world. Brent concludes his piece with some more thoughtful comments for us to chew on.

«You have the ability to make or break people’s days.» How did you spend your day? «What are your plans for tomorrow?»

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