A stranger praised Katy Simcox for being an awesome parent to three-year-old Maddox, and then paid for their restaurant meal. (Photo: Katy Simcox)
Like so many moms, Katy Simcox often thinks she can do better when it comes to parenting her 3-year-old son, Maddox.
Which is why a random act of kindness on the part of a stranger at a restaurant was so inspiring. On Sunday, Simcox and her boyfriend Brandon, who is Maddox’s dad, took their son out to lunch at a local eatery they’d frequented in the past.
“We were just having a regular meal, with Maddox coloring on a placemat and me paying attention to him like I usually do,” Simcox, who lives in Henderson, Kentucky and works in a nursing home, tells Yahoo Parenting. “I was just listening to him and talking to him.”
Suddenly, a waitress came over to their table with a big smile on her face. She told the couple not to worry about the check, because the woman sitting behind them had already paid for the family’s meal.
“I looked up and the woman, who seemed to be in her late 30s and wasn’t familiar to me, waved me over to her table, where she was having lunch with a female friend,” says Simcox. The woman also explained she had been watching her and Maddox and she’d never seen a young mother who was so caring toward her child.
Katy Simcox and her three-year-old son, Maddox (Photo: WFIE]
“‘Other moms can learn a few things from you,’ she said. It’s not the kind of thing you hear often, and it made me feel really good.”
The woman’s words bolstered Simcox’s spirits for another reason: after Maddox was born, she suffered from postpartum depression, which affected the way she thought of herself as a mother.
“We chatted some more about raising kids, and she and her friend both said they were moms, so they know how hard it can be,” says Simcox. “She gave me her contact info and said to call her if I ever needed support.” The woman doesn’t live in the Kentucky area, and she asked Katy to keep her identity anonymous.
Why is parenting praise — from a stranger — so powerful? “Being praised for being a good mom and talking to other moms about the challenges of raising young kids validates all the sacrifices it takes to be an involved, attentive parent,” Fran Walfish, PsyD., a Beverly Hills–based psychologist, tells Yahoo Parenting.
“Encouragement also connects you to other moms, reminding you that you’re not the only one who can get frustrated,” she says.
This isn’t the only random act of kindness bestowed on parents at a restaurant. In 2014, a family celebrating Mother’s Day at a Japanese eatery in Calgary, Canada, had $5 subtracted from their $54 bill because of their “well behaved kids,” as the check stated.
And in 2013, a mom who openly breastfed her 12-month-old in an Iowa restaurant had part of her meal comped by her waitress, who was also a mom and wanted to applaud the customer for publicly breastfeeding.