This man turned a rude mom's comment into an awesome lesson about the value of hard work.

If you're a young kid, seeing a tattooed, dirt-covered man might make you do a double take.

Such was the case for a young girl in a Washington store. When construction worker Andy Ross walked to the store's checkout line with dirt all over him after a long day at work, he noticed the young girl's stare.

Knowing that children are curious and often stare at people, Andy paid her no mind. That is, until the mom and her daughter began walking out.


What Andy had expected to be a mundane trip to the store turned into a teaching moment about class, appearances, and creative expression.

In a Facebook post that's since gone viral, Andy explains overhearing some insulting words from the child's mother about his appearance.

"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."

Tattooed and muddy, Andy knew the mom was referring to him.

Instead of yelling or getting aggressive, Andy used the opportunity to talk to the mom and share why we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

This mother assumed things about Andy based on his appearance, so he broke it down piece by piece to explain exactly why she was wrong.

So I had a very interesting “educational” conversation with a woman and her daughter today. As I entered the store...

Posted by Andy Ross on Monday, May 21, 2018

Firstly, he notes, he's quite the outdoorsman. As the co-owner of Evergreen State Outdoors, Andy is often pretty dirty after a long day at work, an aspect of the job he truly enjoys.

He went on to defend his tattoos, a piece of his identity that he says not only represents his time in the service but also the importance of creativity.

"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," Andy said.

He also made a really good point about conflating one's appearance to their education level.

"I happen to be a very educated dirty man," Andy wrote. "I not only have a high school diploma, I also have a college degree and many medical certifications. So assuming that I am uneducated because of my appearance is actually quite ignorant in itself."

But even though he is a college graduate, Andy notes, it shouldn't matter whether he's educated or not — blue-collar work is valid and deserves our respect.

Work that doesn't necessarily require a college degree — such as construction, maintenance, warehousing, and firefighting — matters just as much as other types of work. There are about 19.6 million blue-collar jobs in the United States filled by a diverse group of hard-working Americans.

The woman who assumed that Andy was uneducated happened to be wrong, but her comment revealed her bias against blue-collar workers — a bias that, unfortunately, many Americans hold.  

"People need to learn that blue collar workers are just like everybody else they meet in the world," says Andy in a message to Upworthy. "Some have degrees, some are borderline genius, [and] some have been in trouble. They are from all walks of life and all have a story to tell. So before you assume that this dirty, farmers-tanned man or woman is unintelligent, pause and think."

Ross's experience shows that we shouldn't be vilifying certain types of work to our children. We should be teaching them to respect and appreciate hard workers in all industries.  

Granted, every parent gets to decide how to parent their child and what lessons they teach them.

Many parents, understandably, just want the best for their kids. But this desire to lead children to their best lives shouldn't come at the expense of devaluing someone because they don't meet antiquated standards of acceptable appearances.

It is absolutely possible to teach children good morals and values while also allowing them to pursue a variety of career options and safe and ethical ways to express themselves. Respecting those around us, even when they look a little different, helps to foster a more understanding and compassionate society.

And let's be honest, who doesn't like to get a little dirty sometimes?  

More
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's