You should never judge a person by their appearance. Unfortunately, one mom had to learn this the hard way. After mocking a “dirty man” in a store, he revealed his true identity to her, making her regret every word. Now, people are passing his story along to spread this important message.
Andy Ross of Washington state was picking up a few things at the grocery store after work one day when he noticed a little girl staring at him. He had only been in the sore for a minute but knew he was legitimately dirty after his long day. Working in the woods has a way of doing that to you, but Andy wasn’t thinking too much about his appearance when he ran inside to grab a few things.
Then, to his shock and dismay, he heard the little girl’s mother whisper to her. “That is why you need to stay in school,” she said, obviously believing Andy was a failure based simply on the fact that he was dirty. She was about to eat her words as Andy served up a heaping dose of reality.
Taking to Facebook to share the story, Andy explained exactly how he completely blew the woman’s preconceived notions out of the water as he revealed his true identity to this obviously ignorant woman. “So I had a very interesting ‘educational’ conversation with a woman and her daughter today,” Andy began. “As I entered the store before I got home, a little girl kept staring at me. Which is fine. I know that kids are curious when they see someone, especially as dirty as I was,” he explained, cutting the kid some slack.
However, her mother’s remark would be a different story. “They ended up in front of me as I was checking out,” Andy continued, speaking of the child and her mother. “Little girl still staring, her mother told her to stop staring. As they finished and headed towards the door, I hear her mom say quietly to the little girl, ‘That is why you need to stay in school.’ I figured this was a great time to educate this mother and her 7/8-year-old daughter.”
Then, Andy outlined the conversation he had with the woman, who decided to judge him so harshly over the way he looked, detailing every word he had for her. “First, I happen to be a very educated dirty man. I not only have a high school diploma, I also have a college degree and many medical certifications,” he told the woman, who was likely clutching onto her child for dear life at that point. “So, assuming that I am uneducated because of my appearance is actually quite ignorant in itself,” he added.
“Secondly, if you are telling your daughter to stay in school because I have tattoos up and down my arms, that will actually suppress her creativity and potentially hinder her imagination as she develops,” he informed the woman. “Again, contradictory to your point ma’am, I am proud of my tattoos and artwork that Forrest Bateman put on my body. It’s a representation of my pride in my country and my service over multiple combat tours as a special operations medic.”
Andy wasn’t done there either. “Third, if you’re referring that statement to the hat I’m wearing because it features an elk, you might not understand it. I happen to co-own Evergreen State Outdoors and am proud to own an outdoors company and support my rights to hunt and responsibly be a gun owner,” he continued.
“Finally, I chose to work in a construction industry. I am proud to say that I am a part of building America, and I enjoy my job every day. I tried working a desk job when I got out of the service, and it wasn’t for me. I enjoy working with my hands and being outdoors. Subsequently, it comes with being dirty some days. I make good money, have benefits, and am able to provide for my family without issue,” he declared.
“So my appearance reflects nothing to do with my level of intelligence or pursuing a higher level of education,” he concluded, and it seems that the woman had nothing else to say. She had said plenty when she criticized a hard-working American for having some remnants of a day’s honest work on his clothes. Mind you, this was a grocery store, not a 5-star restaurant. So, a little soil on the shopper should have been none of this woman’s concern.
Andy’s post is a reminder of something we’ve all heard before but too often fail to remember: Never judge a book by its cover. Yes, first impressions are important, and this is not an excuse to not try to put your best foot forward. However, we all have our story to tell, and you never know why that disheveled person might look the way they do. Quite simply, don’t make assumptions and don’t be rude. Maybe if more people read this important lesson, the world would be a kinder place.