Remember when it rained and all you wanted to do as a little kid was jump in the puddles or run through the mud, but your parents told you no because you’d get all dirty—wasn’t that the point?!—and being dirty was considered to be bad?
Andy Ross recently encountered a woman who used his “dirty” appearance to teach her daughter a lesson, but the little girl wasn’t the only one who learned a lesson that day.
Andy Ross lives in Washington and is very proud of the person he has become.
Ross had just finished a day at work but needed to stop at the store before going home.
At the store, he came across a woman and her young daughter. He noticed the little girl staring at him, which he noted on Facebook was “fine,” he assumed it was because he was covered in filth.
While the two stood in the checkout line, the woman said to her daughter, “That is why you need to stay in school.”
He was taken aback by a stranger’s comment about his appearance.
“I figured this was a great time to educate this mother and her 7/8 year old daughter,” he wrote on Facebook.
Ross began to explain to the woman and her daughter that just because he appeared “dirty” it didn’t mean he was uneducated.
“First, I happen to be a very educated dirty man,” he recalled saying. “I not only have a high school diploma, I also have a college degree and many medical certifications. So assuming that I am uneducated because of my appearance is actually quite ignorant in itself.”
Ross spelled out why there is nothing wrong with being messy.
So I had a very interesting “educational” conversation with a woman and her daughter today. As I entered the store…
Then, wondering if the woman’s comment was in reference to his tattoos he explained how proud he was of them and how they represented his years of service.
Ross also spoke about how he co-owns a business and works in the construction industry where you will inevitably get dirty.
“I am proud to say that I am apart of building America and I enjoy my job everyday,” he recalled saying. “I tried working a desk job when I got out of the service and it wasn’t for me. I enjoy working with my hands and being outdoors. Subsequently, it comes with being dirty some days.”
His response made it clear that the word “dirty” is not synonymous with uneducated.
“So my appearance reflects nothing to do with my level of intelligence or pursuing a higher level of education,” he said.
Ross’ conversation with the woman and her daughter may have been long, but the message was simple, “try not to judge people before you know anything about them.”
You can read Ross’ full account of the encounter here.