When Pamela De Almeida gave birth to her daughter Sophia, she couldn’t stop staring at her. She marveled over her 10 tiny fingers and her 10 perfect toes and her beautiful little face.
But soon, she noticed other people were staring too.
You see, Sophia has Down syndrome, and Pamela noticed that whenever they would go out in public, strangers would unabashedly stare at her sweet little girl.
Pamela would try to ignore the rude stares and the infuriating whispers, but it broke her heart every time a stranger looked at her daughter only because of her condition, and not for the beauty and strength Pamela saw.
One day, Pamela was at a coffee shop with Sophia when she just about reached her breaking point.
“I sat in Tim Horton’s with my daughters as I do often,” she recalled. “Two ladies sitting near us started to stare and whisper. … I sat there and watched these two women crane their necks to get a better look at her; completely oblivious to the fact that I was staring right back.
“Today it bothered me. It really bothered me.”
As she sat there, trying to keep her emotions in check, she saw a couple approaching her out of the corner of her eye.
“Oh great!” she thought. “More people who want to take a closer look!”
Pamela was about to tell the couple off, but their next move caught her off-guard.
“The man greeted Sophia with a high five and a handshake, and Sophia smiled and waved back,” she said.
Then she noticed the tears brimming in the man’s eyes.
“I have a story I would really like to share with you. But I am afraid I won’t get through it without choking up,” he told her.
Surprised, Pamela encouraged him to share it anyway.
“He told me that he had watched the news last night,” she recounted. “There was an interview with a mother who had recently given birth to a child with a major disability. She was on the news defending her decision to keep her baby. She was defending her choice NOT to terminate despite her doctors encouraging her to do so.”
“The point is, you never know a person’s impact on the world,” the man told her. “You can never know what a person is able to do unless you give them a chance.”
Then, just before he turned to walk away, the man looked Pamela in the eye and said, “You are a beautiful person. Your daughter is beautiful. Congratulations!”
“I immediately started to cry,” Pamela said. “There I sat in the middle of a coffee shop crying into a paper napkin. That man was the first complete stranger to ever congratulate me on the birth of my daughter Sophia. He was the first complete stranger to recognize her WORTH. Her VALUE. Her BEAUTY.
“In a world where my daughter’s life is whispered about, where she is stared at, this man saw her IMPORTANCE.
“What a wonderful reminder that every human being, no matter how small, has true worth and value. Let’s encourage ourselves and those around us to recognize everyone’s unique beauty every day.”
Do you believe that every life is precious and important? Then share it!