Sometimes, a little act of solidarity has a huge impact in the fight for gender equality. That’s what one Ontario mom and her six-year-old daughter, Peyton, discovered at a local skatepark over Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday.
Peyton’s mom, Jeanean Thomas finally convinced the tiny skateboarder to hit the park, but when they got there, the rowdy, all-male crowd was almost too much for her. Jeanean insisted the park was for everyone, but Peyton still balked — feeling intimidated at the sight of all the boys gathered around. Ryan could see she wanted to skate and went out of his way to make the little girl feel welcome.
Ryan approached Peyton and offered to show her the right way to use the board, and spent the next hour or teaching her his board skills and making sure she didn’t get hurt. Jeanean was so moved by his kindness she took to Twitter to write him an open letter.
Here’s the letter in full. Read it and be prepared to slow clap by the end of it.
The letter was picked up by The Cambridge Times and has caused a massive frenzy of Internet-friendliness. It has been shared by thousands on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Ryan, on the other hand, doesn’t really see what the fuss is all about. He told The Cambridge Times, “The day of it … I didn’t think much of it to be honest. I don’t really know why it’s a big deal. I went up there just simply to be nice. If I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and I was in a place that could be intimidating at that age, I’d want someone to help me.”
Ryan may not think it’s all that special, but the Internet disagrees. Feedback has been so positive, paying it forward with a lot of affirmation for Ryan’s kind gesture and the impact his simple act could have. We need more people reaching across gender lines to instill confidence, express solidarity and serve as role models.
Cheers to Ryan for stepping up, and to Peyton for being a badass representing girl power at the skatepark.
(Image via Twitter)