Lindsay Rae waited in line at the Walmart checkout when a couple made mean remarks about the woman ahead of them. The woman was a mother of five and fumbled with a food stamp card to pay for her purchases. But the couple behind Rae grumbled about “how many baby daddies do you think she has?” and “there are our tax dollars”. But the considerate and observant Rae identified the situation and quietly asked the woman, “Foster or adopted?” And while she helped the new mother, she scolded the couple.
Rae’s Facebook post about the incident has become a timeless example of why people shouldn’t judge each other. It’s better to assume the better of people because you never know what they might be going through.
Couple Demeans a New Foster Mom
On November 15, 2013, Lindsay Rae posted a life-changing story that occurred in the checkout line at Walmart. “The woman in front of me had 5 children she was wrangling (which did not seem odd to me).” She added that “the children were a mix of Caucasian and Hispanic,” something she did not notice until someone else pointed out their races.
That someone being the people standing behind her. They began to loudly whisper about the woman, saying, “How many baby daddies do you think she has? …Can’t even dress those kids for the weather. …Just wait until she whips out the food stamps.”
Rae was busy with her cranky toddler until this moment and she looked “incredulously back at the well dressed, normal couple spouting such, well, total CRAP.”
Then she looked at the target of their ridicule, “a woman fumbling with separating clothes items; coats and shoes socks and underwear from the food items with the black plastic separators. There were five kids, two that shared her same blonde hair with jackets and warm shoes and three, beautifully dark-haired and deep brown eyes, sad eyes, wearing shorts, and flip flops.”
She struggled with the food stamp card, unsure of what to do to complete the transaction. And the judgemental couple sighed as they said, “There’s our tax dollars neatly at work.”
Lindsay Rae Steps In
Rae glared at the couple and stepped up to the mother, “Can I help? These things are so confusing.” When the woman hesitated, Rae quietly added, “Foster or adopted? I have 9 kiddos, two boys. I get it, please let me help.”
The woman explained she was a “new foster mom, this is my first time using one of these. They came 3 days ago, gonna be with us for a while. They gave us food, but the kids needed clothes, but no stipend has come through yet.”
Rae smiled at the kids and said, “They’re beautiful children. I am glad you all have each other.” Then she helped her check out and load her cart. As she left, Rae gave her a hug and told her “you have got this.”
Then Rae turned to the smug couple. “Those children? They lost the right to live with their parents just days ago. Those clothes? Probably the only clothes they own, or got to leave their home with.
“THAT woman? Opened her home to kids, kids that needed a safe place to go, when the one they lived in no longer proven safe enough or secure enough for them. The food stamps, something health and welfare helps an already mother to two feed three new mouths. There are not nearly enough women or people like her in this world.“
As she put her groceries on the belt, she turned back and added, “AND even IF those kids were all hers, and she had a dozen ‘baby daddies’ and was on food stamps, no child in this country or any other deserves to be cold or hungry. I am sorry, but your behavior? Poorly done, VERY poorly done.” In response, the couple silently left the aisle and joined another line.
“Genetics has very little to do with family and love”
Rae concluded her post, saying, “You foster mama’s out there… hold your heads high, you are the hands and hearts that are the strong and the steady for small ones when they need it most. Hats off and so much love today to you.”
The comments on this post are filled with praise for Rae standing up to the couple. There were also foster and adoptive parents talking about their experiences, as well as wishing well on the new foster mom.
Rae is a midwife with Wild About Nature in addition to being a mother of nine. While this upsetting experience occurred years ago, Rae still works to empower other mothers on social media. She explained the experience of motherhood best in a #dailygratitudepractice Facebook post from October 2020. In it, she wrote,
“Today, I am grateful for being a mother. Biological, Adoptive, Foster, Teen Surrogate, Auntie/whatever form? Has been an absolute gift. One of the most important lessons I have learned over the years is sharing genetics has very little to do with family and love. Love is an active everyday choice. Mothering is a choice. It takes a willingness to love without a return, but gives more immeasurable simultaneous pain and joy than any other one thing I can imagine.”
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