A three-year-old developed a close bond with her favorite waitress at Waffle House. However, one day the little girl asked the woman a question that caught her mother off-guard.
By the time Holland Backstrom was one year old, her favorite Waffle House waitress, Mrs. Cynthia, already felt like family. The little girl was used to her warm smile and serving of apple juice and raisin bread.
The youngster even had some of her first birthday parties in the Fort Myers restaurant and enjoyed every minute of her time there.
THEY WERE REGULARS
Her mother, Mary Katherine Backstrom, worked on her book in a booth at Waffle House and spent lots of time getting to know Mrs. Cynthia. The trio had long chats and grew closer with each visit.
Backstrom prayed for Mrs. Cynthia's son, and in return, the waitress prayed for her battle with cancer. The Backstroms were regulars, and often their order was already waiting as they arrived.
THE UNEXPECTED QUESTION
Holland admired Mrs. Cynthia, and last year she put her tiny hands on her cheeks and asked an unexpected question. The then-three-year-old's words stunned her mom, but it was too late to take the words back.
“Mrs. Cynthia, I want to have dark skin like you. Why is your skin so dark?”
THE PERFECT RESPONSE
Backstrom wanted to intervene, but the waitress replied with an unforgettable sentence before she could say something. Mrs. Cynthia gave Holland the perfect justification.
She said: "Because God made everyone different! Isn't that wonderful?!" The little girl nodded but had one more comment to add, and it was related to one of her favorite Disney characters.
AN UNFORGETTABLE CONVERSATION
Holland said: "But, Mrs. Cynthia—if I had your skin, we could both dress up like Tiana!" To this, the waitress laughed and told her she could dress like Tiana whenever she wanted to.
They moved on to another topic, but the conversation stuck in Backstrom's head. The mother shared the story online, and it quickly went viral.
THE ONLINE REACTION
Netizens were touched by how children viewed race and applauded Mrs. Cynthia for her reaction. One user wrote: Can I get a hug from Mrs. Cynthia too? That is the most heartwarming story I have heard in quite a long time. Thank you for sharing."
Another added: "Makes me cry tears of joy when I read this!" Backstrom hoped people who read the story would see the importance of teaching children about appreciating everybody's uniqueness.
RACE THROUGH ANOTHER CHILD'S EYES
Children see race much differently than adults do, and their views are often better. In 2017, preschooler Jax Rosebush asked his mother, Lidia, to get the same haircut as his friend, Reddy Weldon, and she was surprised by his reasoning.
The youngster believed the matching haircuts would confuse their teacher because they would look alike. He completely disregarded their different skin colors, and Lidia said her son's request proved that prejudice was taught.
Both the preschoolers and Holland looked at race innocently and without any hatred. Many netizens responded to their stories and indicated that the world was often a much more loving place through children's eyes.