Dear Chili’s waitress who thanked me for breastfeeding in public,
“I saw you breastfeeding your baby, and can I just say, I am proud of you. Thank you for being brave and breastfeeding in public.”
You do not know it, but that day you restored my dwindling faith in humanity.
You did not know that we live 40 miles from the nearest grocery store and that we had driven nearly two hours for our big once-a-month grocery shopping trip, or that our baby had not nursed since before we left home that morning. You did not know that this rare trip to town doubled as a family date for my husband and our three young kids. And you did not know that my mood was less than stellar because of the actions of my fellow grocery shoppers.
Yet, you seated us that Sunday afternoon with a smile. Your service was courteous and prompt. And when we had finished our meal, you brought our check, and stepped around the table to thank me for breastfeeding our baby in public. I listened in awe as you explained how you saw me feeding our baby shortly after we were seated. You told me that you were proud of me for doing something so natural, and yet, so controversial. You told me how it makes you upset to see anti-public breastfeeding posts on social media. You thanked me again. And I was taken aback.
Here you were expressing grace and wisdom far beyond your 18 years. Something I would have expected from someone much older. Someone more seasoned with life experience. Someone like the elderly man whom I crossed paths with just before meeting you. The man who greeted my smile with a stern “I was here first,” instead of the reciprocated smile and polite “excuse me” that I was anticipating as I backed up making room for our carts to pass.
I expected that type of behavior from the younger generation—my generation. The generation often viewed as entitled and rude. But not from him. Maybe I caught him on a bad day. Maybe he has been jaded by the rude actions of others. Whatever the reason, his actions left me feeling disheartened. But I did not allow his harsh response and impolite behavior deter me from being anything but kind. The experience left me thinking, if this is the example set for younger generations to follow, then it is no wonder we are labeled rude and entitled.
And then you came along.
Thirteen years my junior and having no children of your own, you went out of your way to tell me you were proud of me for breastfeeding in public. Instead of me thanking you for your kind courteous service, you were thanking me. You did not know it, but you brightened my day, lifted my spirits, and restored my dwindling faith in humanity.
So to you, the Chili’s waitress who thanked me for breastfeeding in public, thank you!
Your public breastfeeding customer, Terryn
This post originally appeared on Her View From Home.