Katie Vyktoriah brought her two year-old son Dexter, and five month-old son Daniel to Walmart. After some initial trouble with Dexter after Katie wouldn’t let him take a teddy bear with him into the store, Dexter cheered up when he got a hold of a pink headband, which he wore while cruising around Walmart in his mom’s shopping cart. Two old ladies told him how adorable he was. Things were going surprisingly smoothly for a shopping trip with a toddler and an infant.
Then, in the Walmart produce aisle, two teenage girls were snickering at Dexter.
“Is that a boy a girl?” one of them asked.
“He’s a boy,” Katie replied.
The girls went off giggling, but a giant had been awoken.
“THAT’S a BOY?” boomed a large guy, bushy beard, sleeveless camo shirt, cigarette and alcohol smell.
The man pulled off Dexter’s headband, threw it into the cart, lightly cuffed Dexter on the side of the head and said, “You’ll thank me later, little man.”
“NO!” Dexter shouted, pushing the man’s hand away.
“If you touch my son again, I will cut your damn hands off," said Katie, stepping in between the two of them. As she recalls in this viral blog post:
The guy snarled at me, looked at Dexter with disgust and said, "Your son is a f*cking fa***t." He then started sauntering out, but not before he threw over his shoulder, "He'll get shot for it one day."
I stood there, shaking, fists clenched, waiting for the man to disappear out the door, and then I fell apart. I was shaking so hard, holding back tears and comforting Dexter.
Not a single person said or did anything. There were several people who had witnessed the encounter, but not one of them came over to offer support or console me or my son.
Though the bystanders of Walmart failed to reach out to someone who had just been verbally abused in front of her kids of two years and five months, many strangers on the internet have stepped in where those Walmart customers failed. Vyktoriah got an overwhelmingly positive response on Facebook from friends and strangers:
"You stood your ground. Further violence was avoided. You taught Dexter two important lessons. Well done, mama. Standing hand clap for you"
"Brought tears to my eyes. So sorry this happened to your family."
"I read it and shared, I am so sorry you had to experience this. I hope when my child and yours are older this irrational discrimination is looked as as a thing of the past. I am so sorry no one stood by to help you."
"What that man put you and your son through is inexcusable. You should be proud of the way you're raising your child."
And one person offered some backup. Her son, at Walmart, rocking a similar purple headband.