waitress working, a commercial espresso machine can be seen in the foreground
Jade Small
Jade Small
January 12, 2024 ·  4 min read

3-Year-Old Girl Abruptly Asks Waitress about Her Skin Color and Gets a Profound Response

If you have any children yourself, you’ll know that kids have a funny way of saying the most awkward or inappropriate things sometimes. They also have a knack of saying the sweetest most loving things just when we need to hear them most. This little girl caused her mom to panic when she asked a rather controversial question.

Mary Katherine Backstrom took her daughter, Holland, to Waffle House on a very regular basis. She was an author, and she quite enjoyed writing while at the store. This went on for years, and the little family even had a favorite waitress, Mrs. Cynthia. They made sure to always sit in her section of the restaurant. In a post on Facebook that Mary had made about Mrs. Cynthia she wrote.

By the time Holland turned one, we had connected with Cynthia on a more personal level. We knew her life story: where she was from, what her children were up to, how her day was actually going.

Mary says they grew very close with the waitress

As the years went by, the Backstrom family sort of adopted Cynthia as family. They started to share personal details about their lives with one another, and the waitress became one of Holland’s favorite people, too.

I prayed for her adult son. She prayed for my breast cancer. I wrote the majority of my book in her section. She refilled my coffee and encouraged me when I felt frustrated.

I have grown to love Mrs. Cynthia quite a bit, but few people love that woman as much as my baby girl.

Of course, the little girl loved Waffle House and Cynthia so much that she even celebrated her first 3 birthday parties there! When Cynthia noticed their car pull up front, she would place Holland’s favorite order before they even stepped through the door.

Read: 4-year-old Girls Insist They’re Twins because They ‘Have the Same Birthday and the Same Soul’

Holland had her first, second, and third birthday parties in that Waffle House. Nowadays, Mrs. Cynthia places Holland’s order the moment our car pulls into the parking lot. “Crispy bacon, a waffle, and a side of chocolate chips. Always served with her trademark smile.”

For about two years, the Waffle House staff started playing ‘Let it Go’ on the jukebox whenever we arrived. Rica, Keya, and Cynthia would sing and dance ballet around the restaurant with Holland. They would pick her up and twirl her. I would take pictures and laugh until I cried.

Last year, however, Holland decided she was a big girl

These things do happen, and Holland was not as interested in going to Waffle House as much as she was before. Mary writes in her post that she is sure it broke Mrs. Cynthia’s heart a little, too. Her now three-year-old daughter and the waitress at their local Waffle House had bloomed a beautiful and unusual friendship. But, we all grow up, eventually. Little minds eventually start thinking more profoundly, and little girls start to ask questions. In her post, Mary recalls the day Cynthia was asked a rather embarrassing question by her daughter.

Things aren’t always simple with kids. As they get older, the wheels in their brains start to spin. Toddlers get curious and ask questions that sometimes a parent would rather not answer.

And you can’t control it. Not even a little bit.

Like today, when Mrs. Cynthia walked away to help another customer. My daughter’s eyes followed her a little more intently than usual. I should’ve known she was thinking about something by the way she stared with her eyebrows furrowed.

Mary wanted the ground to swallow her whole when her daughter spoke up

Eventually, Mrs. Cynthia was done with the other table and came to sit with Mary and Holland. Mary recalls how her daughter looked up at the waitress, a hand on either cheek and asked a very innocent question. One that her mother instantly wish she could have stopped. ‘Mrs. Cynthia, I want to have dark skin like you. Why is your skin so dark?’

My heart stopped. Race is such a fragile topic, especially these days. And my daughter just approached it with the grace of a bull in a china shop.

I am usually able to stop my kids from asking these things out loud. I see their wheels turning, and I shush them before the words even escape their mouths. But my daughter was too fast, and I was left there, panicking.

Mary soon realized that there was nothing to be ashamed about because Mrs. Cynthia had the most perfect response to give. ‘Because God made everyone different! Isn’t that wonderful?!’

The reply from innocent little Holland? It simply was this: ‘But, Mrs. Cynthia—if I had your skin, we could both dress up like Tiana!’ Mrs. Cynthia laughed and told her that she could dress up like Tiana whenever she wanted!

Have your children ever said something cringe or adorable in public? Let us know in the comments!

Keep Reading: Sisters Who Looked Almost Identical at Birth Grow Up to Have Different Skin Colors