Minnesota mom, Kalynne Marie, was doing some work in the café area of a local Target store when her focus was interrupted by a small commotion.
A little boy Marie believed to be about six or seven had just spilled his frozen slushee drink all over the place. As she described in a post on Facebook:
I’m talking blue and red goop all over the floor, the table, everywhere.
Marie watched as the little boy looked at his father and apologized for making such a big mess. Instead of a look of frustration creep across the father’s face, Marie watched as the man turned to the boy and said plainly:
“Hey, it happens. Let’s go get napkins and I can show you how to clean it up.” Then they calmly went to get napkins and then he helped him clean the entire mess.
In an interview with Babble, Marie explained she was taken by the father’s reaction because as the parent of a 2-year-old boy herself, she often struggles to stay composed during trying moments.
As a result, she couldn’t help but listen intently to the man as he instructed his son how to avoid messes in the future — a lesson reaching farther than the accident at hand. Marie wrote:
Then, as they were throwing the napkins away, the father said to his son, “You’re going to be a human being for a long time, and you have such a smart brain that it’s important you learn how to be more aware of what you’re doing. So next time just be sure to pay more attention to your surroundings so accidents like this don’t happen. Accidents like these can be prevented, but it’s still okay if they happen. As long as you take responsibility for your mistakes, the clean up is a breeze.”
“I have no words,” Marie wrote. “That is parenting done right. ?????????? ”
Marie wrote down the man’s advice “word for word” because she was so inspired by how he handled the situation, she told Babble.
In an update on her post she shared more of the man’s sage wisdom for his son:
… they are still sitting nearby, and the father just said “I know big messes seem overwhelming and you might feel like you can’t do it by yourself, but it’s always okay to ask for help. There is no problem with asking for help when you need it.”
Since posting her encounter, Marie’s story has been shared over 58,000 times. She told Babble she hoped to one day meet the man and thank him for the impact his actions had on her and the thousands of parents who came across her post.
Nearly a week later, the mother of one was back at the Target when low and behold … she found him.Screenshot/Facebook
Some have questioned the veracity of Marie’s story, with one commenter reportedly calling “shenanigans” that such “adult concepts” would be understood by a child of just six or seven years of age.
However, Marie took her detractors to task in a follow-up post on Facebook asserting that the encounter really did happen and it was just the kind of lesson she needed as well:
I think it’s sad that even after I meet the father, show him my post and all the comments, take a selfie with him, and post the update that folks are STILL accusing me of lying about what happened. Y’all are so dead-set on finding the negative in everything that you can’t accept the truth when it smacks you in the face.
That being said, I got what I hoped for. I met the man who inspired me and thousands of others and was able to thank him in person. I’m happy. Keep accusing me of lying, I don’t care, but nothing can wipe this smile off my face.
And as for the little boy who learned that all it takes to clean up a mess is a little patience and grace, Marie summed up his experience nicely by stating:
“Being a parent is hard work.”
“Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that being a kid is also pretty hard work.”