Her daughter had spent twenty minutes in the toy aisle looking for the perfect doll. She couldn’t be prouder of what she’d achieved at such a young age; completing potty training at two was no mere feat.
She clutched her chosen doll close to her heart as they made their way to the register. The cashier asked why she’d settled on that particular doll. Her answer made words melt off her mom’s tongue.
Nick and Brandi Benner were a young couple living in South Carolina with their daughter Sophia. Sophia was a bright girl despite only being two, and her parents couldn’t be prouder.
When she successfully mastered using the potty, Brandi decided to take her to the local Target for a gift. She had no idea how much Sophia was about to change her perspective on life.
For Brandi, having Sophia was the best thing that happened to her budding family. Her daughter was intelligent and kind, with a smile that could melt any iceberg in the world.
Sophia had made Brandi proud at every turn, be it while playing, learning, or even in mundane activities such as eating and sleeping. What Sophia would say inside that Target would blow all these things out of the water.
Brandi and Nick had spent two months potty training little Sophia. As expected, Sophia did an excellent job acclimating to this new phase of her life.
By the end of the second month, she was using the toilet all by herself. As a gift for such a remarkable feat, her parents gave her the option to pick out something she liked. Sophia’s choice would be the start of this experience.`
Brandi and Sophia left at mid-morning for the store. As the day was still young, Brandi was prepared to let Sophia browse through the toy aisles to her heart’s content.
They walked into the store, which recently stocked its shelves with a new batch of dolls. Brandi knew they would be there for a while.
Sophia’s face lit up as her gaze landed on the seemingly endless aisle filled with dolls. Countless brands surrounded her, from beautiful dolls dressed as princesses to giant stuffed bunnies and care bears.
“D’you need help looking around?” Brandi asked, thinking of how overwhelming all this must’ve looked. But little Sophia did the unthinkable.
“No, thanks, mom,” Sophia said sweetly and with the most beautiful smile on her face. She took her first step into the aisle, and Brandi knew she would be alright.
Sophia perused for a while, scrutinizing each doll with the keenness of a hawk. It seemed she understood the momentous nature of this occasion. After twenty minutes, she looked up at Brandi, her smile broadening. She’d found what she was looking for.
Sophia held a beautiful doctor doll in her hands. She straightened the doll’s hair and kissed its forehead. “She’s pretty, right, mom?” she asked.
Brandi returned her daughter’s question with an enthusiastic smile. Of course, Sophia would choose a doctor. For the past year, she’d shown quite an interest in everything that involved doctors. She even knew what a stethoscope was.
Seeing the contentment in her daughter’s eyes, Brandi took her hand and led her to the register. Sophia radiated with joy as they hurried across the many aisles. She seemed eager to play with her new doll.
They reached the register, looking to check out. But what was supposed to be a quick process ended up being an unbelievable experience for Brandi and Sophia.
Brandi and Sophia waited in line for a short minute before getting to the cashier. Sophia gladly placed her doll on the desk, waiting for the lovely lady to ring them up.
Picking up the doll, the cashier asked Sophia if she was going to a birthday, to which the toddler shook her head. What the cashier asked next made Brandi’s mouth fall open.
“Did you pick this up for a friend?” the cashier asked, and Brandi had to tell her that the doll was a gift for Sophia since she’d mastered potty training.
The cashier gasped, quickly hiding her surprise. She faced Sophia and asked, “Are you sure this is the doll you want, honey?” When Sophia eagerly nodded, the cashier said, “We have lots of other dolls that look just like you.” But what was her issue with Sophia’s choice?
The cashier’s comment was seemingly aimed at the doll’s umber skin color, which Brandi quickly picked up on. She was about to speak her mind when Sophia began speaking.
“Yes, she does,” Sophia responded. “She’s a doctor like I’m a doctor. And I’m a pretty girl, and she’s a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? And see her stethoscope?”
“That’s nice,” the cashier said, her face seemingly heating up. She bagged everything for Brandi and Sophia and bid them a good day.
Brandi walked out of the store with her jaw slackened. She’d been ready to put the cashier in her place, not knowing Sophia had it all under control. Though she couldn’t be prouder, she knew she couldn’t just let it go that easily.
After leaving the store, Brandi was still frustrated with the cashier’s ignorance. A part of her wanted to report the woman to management, but she wondered if this was too extreme.
She had always raised Sophia to be color blind, just as she had been raised. Knowing that these kinds of incidents weren’t as innocuous as they seemed, Brandi realized she had to do something.
Brandi always kept in touch with current affairs. She knew that something like this was symptomatic of a more significant problem.
It wasn’t an extreme incident, but Brandi knew that if more minor incidents like this went unaddressed, they could quickly become a breeding ground for worse attitudes. Making up her mind, Brandi decided to test if her anger was justified or not.
Brandi was a little worried about whether she was blowing things out of proportion. The cashier was clearly wrong. As she drove home with Sophia, her little girl still beamed with joy for her new doll.
Watching the child from the corner of her eye, she kept her emotions hidden. She was so proud of her but also aware that she was so young. Would it be worth it?
The entire drive home, Brandi’s mind was consumed by the events of that day. A part of her wanted justice, while another part of her just wanted to forget the whole experience and move on.
After all, Sophia had dealt with the issue herself, and brilliantly so. But as she thought back to the smug look on the cashier’s face, resentment welled up within her once again.
Reaching home, Brandi busied herself with her other chores for the day. Sophia wasted no time getting her new doll out and adding it to her collection. There was such a beautiful innocence about her.
Before long, Brandi heard a car pull up and knew her dad was home. She wondered how he would react when he learned the news.
As he walked in and saw Sophia, pride and happiness sparkled in his eyes as usual. The pair shared a special bond. Noticing the new doll, Nick was overjoyed that Sophia had chosen a Doctor.
He sat down and played with her. After a while, he caught Brandi’s eye, and she motioned for him to meet her in the kitchen. Once there, feeling a little anxious, Brandi told him everything.
Nick remained stone-faced as Brandi explained the events of the day. As he listened, his emotions swung like a rollercoaster.
He was overjoyed when Brandi explained that Sophia had begun going potty on her own. As Brandi got to the part about the doll and the store, though, Nick’s mood quickly took a more ominous turn.
Brandi detailed how spectacular Sophia had been, explaining how she’d stepped in to diffuse an otherwise hostile moment.
Nick was overjoyed at that. He’d always known his daughter was meant to do wonderful things, and it was inspiring how pure of heart Sophia was but also deeply concerned about the cashier and felt that they should do something about her actions.
After discussing the best action to take, the couple decided to post about their experience on social media. They wanted people to know that these kinds of backward attitudes still existed.
What they did not count on was the reaction they would receive. What started as a simple social media post soon grew much larger than she ever anticipated.
After posting about their experience with the ignorant cashier, within no time, the post was shared and reshared thousands of times. It was clear to Brandi that many people out there had experienced similar or worse incidents.
Most of the responses were encouraging and supportive. It was quickly apparent that everyone had an opinion, but not all were positive.
Despite the majority of responses being encouraging and positive, Brandi was sad to see that there was also a lot of negativity and anger too. On both sides of the spectrum, it seemed people were passionate.
That passion wasn’t always good, and people had taken the issue very personally. Many of the comments began to scare Brandi.
As the post got more and more attention, Brandi began doubting whether it had been worth all the trouble. In some cases, she and her family faced alarming pushback.
In other cases, despite being on her side, people were growing more hostile and aggressive towards the store and the cashier. As the internet does, the story had taken on a life of its own.
Brandi grew worried when people began using derogatory language towards the store and the cashier. Some even started using threats, and it was all snowballing very fast.
The story soon strayed away from the original message that Brandi had wanted to share. She knew she had to do something before it got completely out of hand.
Brandi’s intention when she went public had never been to stoke more division. All she had wanted was for her daughter’s actions to be seen as an example of how unity could be achieved in the world.
It seemed everyone had lost sight of the main person in the story. Sophia herself was blissfully unaware of everything that was going on around her.
Brandi decided to keep posting about Sophia. She hoped it would set an example by showing how her daughter viewed the world.
Brandi realized there was a purity still present in her, a part untouched by the world’s divisions. The story had reached so many people that even Target themselves soon took notice.
Brandi knew that the world still had a long way to go if it would ever be able to see the world in the pure way that Sophia did.
She was happy to hear that Target had begun introducing better “sensitivity” training for its employees. She hoped that over time, people would start learning to be more tolerant of each other.
Brandi lay awake that night, thinking about what her daughter had done. To the world, Sophia had shown a simple truth; kids have the purest hearts.
Brandi hoped her daughter would grow up to be a doctor. Sophia had the drive and passion needed by the profession. Most importantly, she embodied the fighting spirit required to make the world a better place.