Lindsay Rae was just another harried mom trying to make her way through the checkout line at Walmart. She was trying to tend to her restless toddler when she noticed the mom with five kids in front of her was going slower than usual.
Two of the kids had coats and looked like the mom, but the other three were dressed strangely for the cold weather in shorts, looking tired and overwhelmed.
She wasn’t the only one who noticed them. Behind Lindsey, a couple behind her whispered about the ragtag family. They wondered how many dads her five kids had, criticized how the kids were dressed and made bets on whether or not the mom would pay with food stamps.
Lindsey could hear them, and it made her angry.
The mom ahead of Lindsey fumbled with trying to separate clothes from food. Lindsey quickly realized the mom ahead of her was a new foster one. Lindsey was a foster mom herself and understood how confusing it could be.
As the couple whispered about seeing their “tax dollars at work,” Lindsey ignored them and stepped up to the foster mom, offering her help and helping her with the transaction.
As she showed the new mom how to use her new card, they chatted quietly about being foster moms. She offered a word of encouragement to the kids and gave the new mom a quick hug, saying “You have got this.”
After they left, Lindsey told off the couple behind her.
“Those children? They lost the right to live with their parents just days ago. Those clothes? Probably the only clothes they own, or got to leave their home with,” she said. “That woman? Opened her home to kids, kids that needed a safe place to go, when the one they lived in no longer proved safe enough or secure enough for them… There are not nearly enough women or people like her this world.”
The couple quietly left their line and stood in another one. As the cashier rang Lindsey up, she complimented her for speaking out one struggling mom to another.
Lindsey recalled the whole exchange in a viral Facebook post, which hit a nerve — both for her willingness to defend someone against prejudice and for celebrating the work of foster parents everywhere.
“You foster mamas out there,” Lindsey wrote. “Hold your heads high, you are the hands and hearts that are the strong and the steady for small ones when they need it most.”