A breastfeeding mother at a pizza restaurant got the surprise of her life when she received a free pizza and a kind note on her receipt from a waitress.
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Jackie Johnson-Smith, 33, a stay-at-home mother from Ankeny, Iowa was celebrating her 33rd birthday on Sunday at Fong’s Pizza in Des Moines with her husband and their three kids, ages 4, 3, and 12 months, when her youngest started fussing. “I usually don’t go downtown for dinner because lots of places aren’t family-friendly but I had heard good things about Fong’s,” Johnson-Smith told Yahoo! Shine. “It was chaotic—I had one kid licking the honey container on the table, another standing on his chair, and my baby was fussing.”
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So Johnson-Smith threw on a nursing cover and began discreetly breastfeeding her 12-month-old. “I usually don’t like to breastfeed in public because people can be judgmental,” she says. “The waitress kept walking by, and I was worried she didn’t want me nursing in the restaurant.” Eventually, worried that her baby would continue crying, Johnson-Smith left the restaurant and finished nursing in the car.
Shortly after, Johnson-Smith’s husband walked out with a huge smile on his face. “He handed me the dinner receipt and at first I was confused—why is he showing me how much my birthday dinner cost?” said Johnson-Smith. To her surprise, there was a handwritten note on the paper: ‘I bought one of your pizzas. Please thank your wife for breastfeeding!’
“I was in total shock and started tearing up,” said Johnson-Smith. “After dealing with people’s reactions for so long, it was like the universe was giving me a pat on the back. I was too stunned to go back inside and thank the waitress.”
When Johnson-Smith got home, she posted a photo of the receipt to her Facebook page with the message: “I have breastfed three children... I have breastfed them in a countless number of places both pleasant and unpleasant, discreetly and out in the open. I have gotten many looks and stares, but tonight erases any negativity I have ever received. I ate at Fongs for the first time tonight. Having a fussy baby I nursed him for awhile in the booth and eventually left the table early as to not disrupt the restaurant. The waitress gave this receipt to my husband. I was speechless and emotional. Although I don't need a pat on the back for feeding my child, it sure felt amazing. It is amazing how we women can make each other feel when we empower each other."
As of Thursday morning, the photo has been shared over 2,000 times and received more than 100 likes on Facebook.
Waitress Bodi Kinney, 33, told Yahoo Shine, “I noticed Johnson-Smith nursing and was so thrilled she did it. I tried not to stare because I didn’t want to seem creepy or make her feel uncomfortable, but I felt like doing jumping jacks.”
Kinney, a mother herself, is familiar with the burden of breastfeeding in public. “Although I nurse my baby no matter where I am—at the supermarket, in clothing stores—people often react negatively. Recently, I had to leave my daughter’s school play to nurse my 8-month-old for fear of offending someone. I wanted to let this woman know in some shape or form, that she was doing the right thing.”
That meant to the world to Johnson-Smith. “She has no idea what that note meant to me,” she said. “I just want her to get the recognition she deserves.”
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