Sean Whalen from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA is a single father of 3 children. One night when he entered a restaurant with his son, he was reminded of what had happened to his family 30 years before. He posted his story online:
“The day my parents split up is forever etched in my mind. Me and dad got into a big fight. Me, mom, and my little brother take off cause my dad is going nuts. We stayed at a hotel that night. When we came back the next day my dad had changed the locks. I watched my mom plead with him through the door to let us in to get clothes etc. He wouldn’t. We had to go back later that day with a police escort.
I’ll never forget the cops handing me a black trash bag saying I had 10 minutes to take the necessities. I loaded up all the clothes I could fit into the bag, and that was the last time I ever stepped foot into the house I was raised in. No baseball trophies. None of my 10,000 baseball cards. None of my stuff. Hell, I left my pet turtle.
Me, mom, and my little brother moved into a little condo and didn’t have jack shit. People from the church brought over pots, pans, couches, beds, and food. My dad cashed out the bank and literally left my mom with the money in her pocket. Not a damn thing she could do. No family around. No real support other than strangers from church. I have no idea how she didn’t throw in the towel at times. I would have. She never one time gave up.
I only began to realize what mom went through working multiple jobs when I became a single parent. I never understood when I was younger the grind and effort she put in for me and my little brother. She hustled. She worked her ass off to just get by. She did everything she could so that my brother and I had everything we ever wanted.
Tonight as my son and I sat at this little crappy Chinese joint we love, there was a new waitress. She stuck out like a sore thumb. The owners are Chinese. The workers are Chinese. And this little white waitress. She was absolutely fantastic and kept complimenting my son on his manners. We ate our dinner. Over small talk and water refills, I got the sense that this single mom didn’t want to be there, but had to be there and she was doing her best to smile. It tore my heart out.
I thought of my mom, and I saw the same hustle in this woman that I saw in my mom. A single mom. Maybe by choice. Maybe not. But working on a Wednesday night to ensure she can put food on the table and shoes on the kids feet. Not for opulence. Not for status. But to live. To hopefully be able to provide the things for her kids that will put a smile on their face. I empathized for her. I felt her pain. I can’t even begin to understand what that must be like for some moms.
I know my tip won’t pay her rent. I know my tip won’t pay for kids braces. I know my tip won’t keep the fridge full. But I hoped tonight in some way it might put a smile on her face, and she can go home to her babies happier than when she left them.
I don’t know her whole story. I don’t need to. I felt tonight that maybe along the way someone did this for my mom, and that’s what kept her going on nights she wanted to quit.
I have been blessed beyond measure, and my mother paved the way for my persistence. She showed me how to bounce back. She showed me what work and effort is. I hope this small gesture with my son tonight brightens this woman’s life so she can wake up tomorrow and fight a good fight. To all the single moms who grind…. RESPECT. You are beautiful and your children will learn from your efforts. They are watching you. Just as I watched my mom.
Mom I love you. You are my hero.”
Sean’s words have moved millions of people on Facebook, because it’s not only an open declaration of love for his mother, but also shows great respect for all the mothers out there.