Dad carrying sick daughter turns insult into teachable moment

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, hence, it is important to be kind always. A man encountered by Brent Gehring and her daughter Emma, learned about this lesson in an uncomfortable but truly unforgettable way.

Brent, a hardworking father, carried his daughter who was diagnosed with brain tumor in his arms as his family left the Union Oyster House in Boston, Massachusetts. A bystander, whom they do not know, screamed out an unwelcome remark that stretched Brent’s patience.

“We are all guilty of it. We are scrolling through Facebook and see 12 kids trapped in a cave, a family that was in an accident and lost a loved one, a family member is diagnosed with cancer.

You stop and read the story. You feel bad and wonder what it would be like to be that family. Then you scroll on and read the latest meme or watch a funny video and you forget about that family that is lost and doesn’t know how to move on.

This post doesn’t come looking for pity for Emma or my family. What I am asking is for a change in today’s world. a change in the way we think. The world is what we as people make it. We have the power to make days better or worse for others. I choose to attempt to make lives better.

Today, I am going to do this by telling you a story. A story that I have only shared with my wife and my daughter Emma, who was with me. The same daughter that was told earlier today that she will soon start her 7th, yes 7th round of chemotherapy for a brain tumor. She is only 6 by the way.

My daughter and I were leaving dinner the other night at Union Oyster House in Boston, MA. A dinner donated to us by an amazing business and friend that has been in our ‘family’ for years. When I crossed the street carrying her, she can’t walk without the use of her walker. A man yelled at me from 30′ away: ‘What the F***?’ He yelled. ‘Make her walk. That’s what is wrong with kids today.'”

Brent shared his unfortunate experience with Love What Matters page. Amazingly, instead of getting mad at the man who screamed at him and his family, he chose to be composed and educate the man about their situation.

“I had a choice to make at that time. Can I make myself feel better by screaming at him or can I teach him something about life? I won’t lie to you and tell you that it was an easy choice but I got inches from his face, with my daughter in my arms, and quietly asked him if he was referring to my daughter. ‘Hell yes’ he said.

I responded with:

My daughter has been carrying my faith and my strength for the past 5 years since she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She can’t walk but I am happy to carry her because of all the amazing things she has taught me through the years. So I would advise you not to address my daughter in any way other than respectful’

I won’t tell you the rest of the story but it ended with two grown men with tears rolling down their faces. One that needed to have his eyes opened to what real life and real love is and one that is always needing a reminder that good can come from any situation.

Brent chose not to share the rest of the events, but he noted that it ended with the two of them, him and the stranger, with tears running down their faces. Which is a good thing, because it means that the two men were able to engage in a healthy conversation that opened a man’s eyes to see beyond his naked eye.

According to the doting father, he wanted to do things right and be a good example to his beloved daughter, Emma. Hence, he chose to settle things by engaging in a healthy conversation rather than using brute force.

May all of us imitate how Brent handled the situation with composure and compassion. He has the excuse to deck the strange man in the face, given his unwanted remark, however, Brent chose to educate him. He was able to answer a hateful comment with love and kindness, leading to a transformed heart that is now capable of understanding.

May Brent’s story be a helpful reminder to treat others with kindness and be careful of the words we utter, for every one we encounter has their own story to tell. After all, it is always better to end the day, knowing that we have made someone else’s life better, isn’t it?

If you want to know more about Emma please visit her Facebook page: Emma Strong

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