Jeanean Thomas’s 6 year old daughter Peyton has wanted to skateboard for a long time. After her mother finally convinced her that skateboarding isn’t just ‘for boys’ the two set off for the local skatepark near their home in Ontario. When they arrived the park was full of teenage boys who were ‘smoking and swearing’ and Peyton was intimidated enough to want to go home. Jeanean convinced her to stay and she set off on one of the ramps.
What happened next inspired Jeanean to write a letter that is quickly going viral. Titled ‘Dear teenage boy at the skate park’ Jeanean details exactly what happened when a young boy approached her daughter, just when Jeanean thought she’d have to break out the ‘mom voice’. Jeanean first posted her letter to Twitter.
The letter read;
Dear teenage boy at the skate park:
You’re probably about 15 years-old, so I don’t expect you to be very mature or for you to want a little girl on your skate ramp for that matter.
What you don’t know is that my daughter has been wanting to skateboard for months. I actually had to convince her that skateboarding wasn’t for just for boys.
So when we walked up to the skate park and saw that it was full of teenaged boys who were smoking and swearing, she immediately wanted to turn around and go home.
I secretly wanted to go too because I didn’t want to have to put on my mom voice and exchange words with you.
I also didn’t want my daughter to feel like she had to be scared of anyone, or that she wasn’t entitled to that skate park just as much as you were.
So when she said, “Mom it’s full of older boys,” I calmly said, “So what, they don’t own the skate park.”
She proceeded to go down the ramp in spite of you and your friends flying past her and grinding rails beside her.
She only had two or three runs in before you approached her and said “Hey, excuse me …”
I immediately prepared to deliver my “She’s allowed to use this park just as much as you guys” speech when I heard you say, “Your feet are wrong. Can I help you?”
You proceeded to spend almost an hour with my daughter showing her how to balance and steer, and she listened to you – a feat not attained by most adults.
You held her hand and helped her get up when she fell down and I even heard you tell her to stay away from the rails so that she wouldn’t get hurt.
I want you to know that I am proud that you are part of my community, and I want to thank you for being kind to my daughter, even though your friends made fun of you for it.
She left the skate park with a sense of pride and with the confidence that she can do anything, because of you.
It just goes to show you that you can never be too quick to judge. Sure he might have been a teenager at a skate park and that may have been intimidating, but he was also a kind human being willing to use his knowledge to help another person out. I love that he was willing to take so much time to help a younger person learn the skills necessary to make them safe and successful. And I appreciate that the mom wrote this letter, because I’ve been to skate parks with my kids and it can be intimidating when there’s a bunch of teenagers there who know what they’re doing and my kids are just learning. It makes us realize that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Something tells me that thanks to that teenage boy, this won’t be Peyton’s last time at the skatepark.