It had been a stinker of a day for Melissa Simms. Not only was she down to her last dollar, but now she also needed medical care for her sick son. Just when the mom had no doubt lost all hope, however, a stranger’s note changed everything.
Simms lives in Pell City, Alabama, with her husband and five children. Back in 2015 the doting mother was struggling to make ends meet. In fact, money was so tight that she had to make some sacrifices.
Despite her predicament, Simms managed to put on a brave face in front of her children. On the surface, the mom would act like everything was okay, but deep down she worried about her family’s future.
One day during this uncertain period, Simms had an appointment with her doctor. They needed to check up on some major surgeries that she’d had in the previous two years. That same day, her son Trey was off school ill, and so she decided to take him to the doctors with her.
However, when she got there, Simms suddenly realized she couldn’t afford the co-payment. “Me and my husband woke up and split our last $10: for gas for him to go to work and for me to make it to my doctor’s appointment,” she explained to WBRC in 2015.
No doubt to Simms’ embarrassment, a not-so-discreet conversation between her and the doctor ensued. Both of them spoke loudly enough so that others could hear the situation unfolding. And before long, most people waiting in the office were aware of Simms’ financial struggles.
As Simms tried to resolve the issue with the doctor, one woman stood up, walked over to Simms’ son and handed him an envelope. And what the package contained would make his mom’s day.
When Simms finished her discussion with the doctor, she returned to her son. That’s when he passed on the message the stranger had left him, and when Simms opened it, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
Inside the envelope was a handwritten note. “I’ve had days like you are having today. Hang in there,” the message read. The note also directed Simms to a Bible passage that might have provided her with some comfort.
The passage in question was Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous,” the verse from the Bible reads. “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Moreover, while the stranger’s words were consolation enough, her kindness didn’t stop there. The good Samaritan had also inserted a $100 bill into the envelope to help Simms settle her bill. Well, the young mom couldn’t believe the lady’s generosity.
In fact, what had happened moved Simms so much that she decided to share her story with others. She subsequently recounted her tale on a Facebook group called What’s Happening in Pell City, and the story soon went viral.
“Sorry, I had to share this,” she wrote on the social media site. “I was having one of those days where it just seemed everything was going wrong. Then an unknown woman, which I will call an EARTHLY ANGEL, handed this to my son while we were at the doctor’s office.”
“This made my whole entire day. THANK YOU! I will pay it forward,” she promised. “I have read about these random acts of kindness, but this is the first time I have ever experienced [one] firsthand! Just thought maybe this could cheer up someone’s day as much as it has mine.”
And it appears Simms was right. More than 1,000 people have since liked her heartwarming Facebook post. Moreover, many of them couldn’t resist joining Simms in her praise of the kind stranger.
“Some people are just amazing, what a blessing,” wrote one social media user under Simms’ post, while another person added, “Wow! What a blessing. The beauty in this act is the heart of the giver.”
In fact, Simms’ story proved to be so popular that a local news network picked it up. The mom told the channel that she was keen to thank the stranger in person. So, they launched a hunt for the good Samaritan.
“I don’t know what she looks like, I don’t know her name, but I hope I get to meet her to say thank you,” Simms explained to WBRC in 2015. The mom added that because of the stranger, she now felt like everything was going to turn out okay.
“All day, I was stressed about how I’m going to make supper for my kids,” Simms stated in an interview with Fox News Insider in 2015. “After I received that generous offer, finally I was able to… [give] my kids supper. Thank you so much.”
It’s unclear whether Simms ever did get to thank the kind stranger in person. However, she vowed to follow her example and “pay it forward” with a few good deeds of her own. After all, every little act of kindness adds up and can ultimately amount to a big change in the world.
Like Simms, lots of other people have been touched by the kind-heartedness of strangers who have left them handwritten letters during times of need. And when one new mom began to breastfeed her baby in public, she was experiencing real difficulties. Thanks to a random act of kindness from an unfamiliar face, though, she received a note that would reduce her to tears.
While out to breakfast one day, Isabelle Ames did something that some might consider shocking: she started breastfeeding her baby in full view of the restaurant’s other patrons. And while the mom juggled a ten-month-old and her breakfast, that task turned into a struggle. After a waitress sensed a potentially uncomfortable situation, though, she handed Isabelle a note. And when Isabelle read it, she started to cry.
Isabelle describes herself on Instagram as simply “wife to Alexander” and “momma to Charlotte.” The new mom has also admitted on the social media site that she had struggled to breastfeed her daughter since the day that she was born. For weeks after she gave birth, in fact, she was unable to get her daughter to latch.
For many new moms, it’s a personal choice as to whether they breastfeed or not. Some want to, in order to form a strong bond with their babies; others choose not to at all. However, for those who want to but whose babies refuse – like Isabelle – it can be heartbreaking.
“Breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I have done, next to labor,” Isabelle has confessed on Instagram. “No one prepares you for it, but everyone expects you to be excellent at it. You feel like a complete failure when it doesn’t happen right away.”
“For the first two weeks after Charlotte was born, I could only pump and cry because I was so brokenhearted that I couldn’t get her to latch,” Isabelle added. “Then for the next four weeks, I could only breastfeed with a nipple shield. It was better than pumping but still not the same.”
Nevertheless, Isabelle continued to try. Then, around a month and a half in, she had a breakthrough. “It was not until about six weeks after she was born that she latched for [the] first time and I was able to successfully breastfeed,” she wrote. Her persistence had paid off.
Understandably, that was an emotional moment for Isabelle. Indeed, on Instagram, she revealed that at that moment, she “cried tears of relief and ecstatic joy.” However, despite the progress, breastfeeding her newborn would continue to be problematic. And almost a year later, the process would remain a difficult one.
Meanwhile, in late February 2017, Charlotte had gotten sick. And while caring for her poorly infant, Isabelle wasn’t sleeping well. Add that to the daily stresses of being a mom, and it’s no surprise that she was exhausted and irritable at the time. Isabelle would even go on to admit, “Yesterday I got so frustrated I screamed 50 curse words into a pillow.”
However, Isabelle takes such frustrations in her #momlife stride, and she went about her business as usual. One day, that would include breakfast with her family at a local Snooze restaurant in Gilbert, Arizona. And when Charlotte got hungry, Isabelle naturally started to breastfeed her.
The situation, however, was a tricky one. There Isabelle was, trying to juggle her lively ten-month-old and her own breakfast, all while exhausted and trying to shake off an illness. It was a situation not improved by the fact that Charlotte was teething. In fact, a total of six teeth had broken through.
What’s more, breastfeeding in public can be hard enough even when a mother is having a good day. It can draw uncomfortable glances from those nearby or inspire disapproving comments; some moms have stories of being told to cover up or, worse still, to leave. Watching Isabelle’s struggle, though, was her waitress, Erica Chambers.
Perhaps Erica could sense discomfort from the other diners. Whatever she felt, though, it inspired her to write Isabelle a note. And when Isabelle read what her server had written, she began to cry. For Erica, moreover, seeing what Isabelle had been doing was a very personal issue.
Erica wrote, “Thank you for breastfeeding here! Much love and respect!!!” Reading these few words had overwhelmed Isabelle with emotion. In fact, she promptly gave Erica a hug. As Isabelle recalled to Fox 10, “She just told me we have to support each other and have each other’s backs.”
What’s more, Erica is entitled as a restaurant staff member to gift three complimentary pancakes each day to customers of her choice, whether for birthdays or anniversaries or any other celebratory situation. When she saw Isabelle breastfeeding her daughter, though, the public display touched Erica, and she gave Isabelle a pancake along with the note.
Telling Fox 10 about the note, Erica said, “I just wanted to pat another mom on the back.” The waitress knows firsthand how difficult nursing a child can be, particularly in public. With an infant of her own, she too has experienced hostility while breastfeeding in public.
“I’ve been asked to leave establishments or to cover up,” Erica explained to Fox 10. “There’s nothing wrong with breastfeeding your child in public. All kids need to eat. We all need to eat, and there’s no difference between someone sitting down here and giving their child a bottle or someone sitting down breastfeeding their child.”
However, for some there is a taboo surrounding breastfeeding. A common complaint is that the practice is deemed “indecent” and should take place out of public sight. Some people even believe that breastfeeding in public is illegal.
In 49 states, however, breastfeeding is every woman’s right, wherever she is – be it in public or in private. Due to the oversexualization of women’s bodies, though, the natural function of breasts can often be forgotten. They are designed to provide food for babies, of course.
And Erica’s note had a huge impact on Isabelle and provided some much-needed positive reinforcement. “I’ve been so worried throughout my breastfeeding experience that someone would have a negative reaction and come up to me,” Isabelle told Fox 10. “So, to have a positive reaction and have that face-to-face was really cool.”
“I felt like she was there on my journey the whole time, and she knew how many times I wanted to give up but I didn’t,” Isabelle wrote on Instagram. “So often, before I feed Charlotte in public, I get a twinge of fear. ‘Okay, this is the time. Someone is going to harass me. They are going to yell at me. Someone is going to tell me I can’t do this here.’ But not today. Today, I got love, respect and a free pancake. Thank you to my fellow momma, Erica.”