A nurse had the best response after a woman judged her colorful hair and tattoos.

Mary Walls Penney isn't an easy person to miss.

A nurse living in West Virginia, Penney's got rainbow-colored hair, piercings in her tongue and ears, and visible tattoos all over. 

As for her personality? I have no idea, because I've never met her!


But apparently that hasn't stopped random people from forming opinions about her, and her ability to do her job, based on her unique appearance.

Mary recently shared a story on Facebook about an encounter with a judgey cashier. And her epic response went viral.

Here's the full text of Penney's fantastic post:

After work I went to the store to pick up a few things. 

While checking out, the cashier, looked at my name tag and said, "So what do you do there?" 

I replied, "I'm a nurse." 

She continued, "I'm surprised they let you work there like that. What do your patients think about your hair?" 

She then proceeded to ask the elderly lady that was in line behind me, "What do you think about her hair?" 

The kind older lady said, "Nothing against you honey, it's just not for me." 

Then the cashier continued to comment that they didn't allow that sort of thing even when she worked fast food and that she was shocked that a nursing facility would allow that.

Well, here's my thoughts. I can't recall a time that my hair color has prevented me from providing life saving treatment to one of my patients. My tattoos have never kept them from holding my hand and as they lay frightened and crying because Alzheimer's has stolen their mind. My multiple ear piercings have never interfered with me hearing them reminisce about their better days or listening to them as they express their last wishes. My tongue piercing has never kept me from speaking words of encouragement to a newly diagnosed patient or from comforting a family that is grieving. 

So, please explain to me how my appearance, while being paired with my cheerful disposition, servant's heart, and smiling face, has made me unfit to provide nursing care and unable to do my job!

It's a bummer that we need yet another reminder, but what we choose to do with our bodies has no bearing on our value as human beings.

An office man with tattoos. Can you believe it?! Photo via iStock.

Penney is spot-on in her response to what she experienced. Stereotyping can take a lot of different forms, whether it's the perception that overweight people are lazy and unhealthy or that tattooed individuals aren't capable of operating in a professional environment.

It's all hurtful, and it's all totally unfounded.

The good news is that the more attention we can bring to stories of intolerance (however small), the more minds we can change.

Penney's post has been shared over 100,000 times and pulled in thousands of supportive comments.

It may be a small drop in a vast ocean, but to people like Penney who are tired of being treated rudely or unfairly because of the way they look, it can mean the world. More of that support, please!

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via State of Minnesota

Powerful testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd makes it clear that he died from a "low level of oxygen."

Chauvin's defenders have alleged Floyd's death could have been caused by heart disease or drug use. They've also claimed that Floyd must have been able to breathe because he audibly called out for his mother while Chauvin's knee was on his neck.

However, Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist who has studied the human respiratory for over 46 years, strongly refuted those claims from the stand.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less