A sticky situation turned into the perfect opportunity for some Grade A parenting in the most unlikely place: a Minnesota Target store. A little boy spilled his slushee, but rather than lose his cool, Dad had other ideas.
Fellow customer Kalynne Marie was sitting at the in-store Starbucks and witnessed the entire event. She saw a little boy around the age of 6 or 7 accidentally spill a huge drink. “I’m talking blue and red goop all over the floor, the table, everywhere,” Marie later wrote in a viral Facebook post.
"I just witnessed a boy, maybe about 6 or 7, accidentally spill a slushee everywhere in Target. I didn't get a photo but…
Spilling a slushee isn’t exactly front page news, but it wasn’t the epic spillage that piqued Marie’s interest. It was the dad’s reaction. According to Marie, the mortified little boy immediately apologized to his father, who responded in a very unpredictable way.
“Hey, it happens,” the patient dad said to his son, according to Marie’s account. “Let’s go get napkins and I can show you how to clean it up.” Cool points abounded as the dad point-blank refused to lose his cool. If he was embarrassed, he didn’t show it; rather, he chose to take the opportunity to let his kid learn that accidents happen.
— Scary Mommy (@ScaryMommy) August 5, 2017
After the spillage was mopped up, Marie overheard the dad dishing out some additional words of wisdom, and she was knocked for six. Marie, herself a single mom to a toddler, told Babble that she was so impressed that she made notes. “As soon as the father started helping his son clean up,” she said, “I opened the Notes app on my phone and wrote what he said word for word.”
“I was so inspired by how he was handling the situation.” From one parent to another, that’s praise indeed!
“You’re going to be a human being for a long time,” the thoughtful father began, “and you have such a smart brain that it’s important you learn how to be more aware of what you’re doing. So next time,” he explained, “just be sure to pay more attention to your surroundings so accidents like this don’t happen.”
He concluded his lesson with words that are sure to resonate in his young son’s head for years to come. “Accidents like these can be prevented, but it’s still okay if they happen,” he explained, patiently. “As long as you take responsibility for your mistakes, the clean up is a breeze.”
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Marie ended her post with the ultimate compliment. “I have no words,” she posted. “That is parenting done right.”
However, the doting dad’s words of advice were the gift that keeps on giving; before leaving the store, Marie overheard the man offering his son a few extra words of profound comfort. She couldn’t resist adding an update to her already-viral Facebook post.
“I know big messes seem overwhelming and you might feel like you can’t do it by yourself,” said the dad, who by now should have been up for a parenting award, “but it’s always okay to ask for help. There is no problem with asking for help when you need it.”
Marie’s post gained traction overnight, and within days it had amassed thousand of views on social media. As luck would have it, Marie bumped into the very same man and his son a week later at the very same Target store, says the Daily Mail. The single mom, excited to reveal the dad’s burgeoning viral fame, approached the pair and said hello.
“The father’s name is Joe and his son is Gus,” Marie shared, adding that Joe laughed heartily when she reminded him of the slushee episode. “I showed him the post,” she went on, “and the comments of everyone who applauded him. He smiled the whole time and started getting teary-eyed.”
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The parents chatted warmly, hugged goodbye, and felt sure they would run into one another in the future.
Joe chose to respond with patience and grace to little Gus’s gaffe when he could have exploded in anger. Marie did this awesome dad a service by sharing his wisdom with the world, and we applaud them both!
Parenting goals at their finest.