We’ve all been there — we’re not feeling well, we’re grieving, we’re having a bad day — and somebody does or says something that just compounds all the hurt. It’s a terrible feeling to be already low, only to have someone dig that hole deeper. Sadly, it’s a feeling Marissa Sowers knows all too well.
In a Facebook post published Friday that has since gone viral, Sowers addresses the person who said something cruel when she was already feeling down. But the beautiful part about it? She turns what was certainly a moment of despair into a positive message about the importance of kindness.
Sowers’ post begins:
Dear McDonald’s worker who will probably never see this….,
Ur drive thru windows aren’t sound proof. Ur probably wondering y I had tears in my eyes when u handed me my iced coffee… or maybe not, judging by the words u said after handing me my oatmeal…
Sowers goes on to reveal that she overheard one worker comment to another, “Look at this white girl, tryin to wrap her head. Lookin all stupid.”
What the McDonald’s worker didn’t know — and how could she have? — is that Sowers is battling hair loss due to chemo treatments, and that wrap was a gift from a woman at the office where Sowers receives her treatments.
Sowers’ post continues:
I went to McDonald’s for an iced coffee and oatmeal to try to make my day better, but u made it worse. I hope u never get sick. I hope ur healthy and thriving for ur life. I hope ur family members r healthy and happy. Cuz I didnt wrap my head to try to be anything in particular… I wrapped it cuz I shaved my head when my hair was falling out from chemo and having a baby, and yesterday my stepson told me he liked it.
And my heart is shattered into a million pieces.
I remember the day, shortly after my son was released from the NICU where he had spent 10 days battling for his life, that I went into a Subway to pick up dinner for my family. We had been an emotional wreck for nearly two weeks, unsure whether our son would live or die. I had also been recovering from a traumatic C-section, the pain still so debilitating that I could hardly handle it. As I was standing in line, I was wincing, wishing it would move a little faster so I could get off my feet. I was hurting, both physically and emotionally. And it was that moment someone else in line did something cruel to me.
A woman ahead of me turned as she grabbed her food from the cashier, stared me down, and started shouting at me. I’m not sure what she said, but her motive was clear — she didn’t like me, and she wanted the entire restaurant to know it.
I stared at her in confusion, finally shouting back, “W–WHAT are you TALKING about?” I’m not sure if the person she was with ushered her out the door or if the presence of other customers deterred her, but she eventually left — and I stood there, waiting for my food, willing the tears to stop welling up in my eyes.
I was already broken. Deeply. And this woman, whom I didn’t know from Adam, made it her mission to push the knife a little deeper into my heart.
I could have used Sowers’ message that day. Because while she could have torn this stranger down and demanded she be fired, that’s not what Sowers did. Instead, she turned a negative into a positive, issuing the following message:
Thank you for reminding me to be careful with my words… and to not judge a book by the cover.💜
I love that my friends and family members have commented and messaged asking which one so they can call and take up for me, but I really posted this as a reminder to be kind- not to get anyone in trouble or to have them inadvertently lose their job that pays their bills. So, please… just be kind!
And she is absolutely right.
We have no idea the battles those around us are fighting. Often, we can’t tell just by looking at them — much as the McDonald’s worker couldn’t tell just by looking at Sowers. But that doesn’t mean the people around us aren’t deeply wounded themselves.
We have to remember that there is so much going on with people that remains unseen. And we have to make it our mission to be a bright spot in what might be someone’s darkest day.
Thank you to Marissa Sowers for sharing this experience in order to remind us of the power of kindness. This world needs much more of that.