When Pam De Almeida took her 18-month-old daughter to Tim Horton's, she almost expected the stares and whispers.
Sophia was born with Down syndrome, and even though the pair are frequently met with prolonged glances from strangers, the women craning their necks for a better look on that particular morning really bothered Pam. Just as she was trying to keep the oblivious strangers from ruining her day, the Canadian mother-of-two saw another unknown couple approaching and steeled herself for the worst.
But instead of unkind questions or rude remarks, the man sweetly greeted Sophia with a high five and a handshake. His eyes filled with tears as he told Pam that he had a story he'd like to share with her but didn't know if he would be able to get through it without choking up.
"He told me that he had watched the news last night. There was an interview of a mother who had recently given birth to a child with a major disability," Pam shared on her Facebook page, Slice of Life. This particular mom was on the news defending her decision to keep her baby who had Down syndrome and not terminate the pregnancy despite her doctor encouraging her to do so.
"He said, 'The point is, you never know a person's impact on the world. You can never know what a person is able to do unless you give them a chance,'" Pam recalled. "He looked at me just before he turned to walk away and said, 'You are a beautiful person. Your daughter is beautiful. Congratulations!'"
Pam immediately started crying in the middle of the coffee shop not only because of the man's kind words but also because he was the first to ever say them. "That man was the first complete stranger to ever congratulate me on the birth of my daughter, Sophia," Pam reflected. "He was the first complete stranger to recognize her worth. Her value. Her beauty. In a world where my daughter's life is whispered about, where she is stared at, this man saw her importance."