A mother's note to another mother is going viral and setting off tear ducts.
Leah Carroll wrote a lengthy Facebook post last week about a heartfelt encounter she had with a woman at a Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Carroll's son, Malachi, has special needs and is in a wheelchair. She addressed the anonymous mother in a letter after the woman took the time to teach her children "that different is okay."
"To the mom of three at Chick-Fil-A," she begins in note. "I sensed your panic when your five year old son pointed at my son in his wheelchair and shouted "Mom look at THAT boy!" You leaned forward and quietly told him and his three year old brother that we don't say things like that and they shouldn't point or stare. But as in most cases, these suggestions are futile with young, curious minds and they continued to stare and loudly ask questions about my son's differences," Carroll said in the post that has racked up 190,000 reactions so far.
"When you realized your whispers weren't working I saw the panic disappear and you took a deep breath and took a step of courage," Carroll continued. "You brought your boys over to Malachi and said 'I bet he would like to know your names!'"
And Malachi absolutely wanted to learn the children's names.
"As they said their names my little Malachi started grinning from ear to ear and jabbering back to them," Carroll wrote. "The joy on his face brought tears to my eyes- he loves kids his age but so many are fearful to come and speak to him."
The children asked about Malachi's wheelchair and foot braces and why his legs don't work.
"You took the time to educate your sons in that moment and help them understand that different is okay. Different is not something to fear. And that it was okay to ask questions!" she wrote.
Carroll concluded by thanking the mystery woman.
"Special needs moms have to develop tough skin- we get used to stares, comments, and whispers. Please know it takes a lot to offend us, particularly when the comments are coming from young children. Give your kids the same grace we give them and use the opportunity to teach them about differences. So Chick-Fil-A mom, thank you for raising your children to embrace children like Malachi. And thank you for giving my son something to smile about."
The post has been shared nearly 170,000 times and has more than 5,000 comments of praise and support.
Carroll followed up her viral note with another video post a couple days later.
"I posted something that I wanted all of my mom friends to see- little did I know it would take off like wild fire. I have been fighting the feelings of embarrassment mixed with joy that so much awareness is being spread. In reality, this is not about my Malachi but about all children with differences. Malachi is a terrible sleeper so we are always up from 3-6. Last night I was telling Malachi about some of the messages we have been receiving and he just couldn't stop giggling," Carroll wrote.