Couple Changes Tables to Get Away From Mom & 3 Kids -- but It's Not What You Think

Inside a Red Robin restaurant
Allison Scanlon/Flickr

All of us have been on the defense at some point in our lives -- especially if you happen to be a parent. Whether you're trying to dodge mommy-shaming or feel the evil eyes of someone casting judgment on your child, we're often ready to pounce in honor of our children. Ashley Wadleigh is one of those parents, and she had an unusual encounter inside an Iowa Red Robin restaurant that quickly changed her perspective on life. Because little did this mother of three know, the couple who switched tables to get away from her family did so for a reason that will make you think twice about jumping to conclusions.

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It's easy to understand why Ashley was angry that people wanted to move away from her table once she sat down with her three children. As Ashley shares in a Facebook post, a man sitting with a woman (who shielded her face from Ashley) whispered something to a waiter -- and the couple was relocated to another area of the restaurant.

"Now this wouldn't be the first time someone moved when they saw 3 kids sit down by them but I couldn't help but be angry," Ashley writes on Facebook. "Like, what do you think my kids are going to do, throw food? Stab you with a fork?"

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But then Ashley learned from the server that the couple had recently lost a child -- and that's why they couldn't bear to sit next to her little family.

"My heart literally skipped a beat. I felt horrible for her, I felt horrible for judging her," Ashley writes.

Trying to remedy the situation -- and likely her feelings of guilt -- Ashley paid for the couple's dinner. And that resulted in the two moms' coming face to face.

"Well, they must have figured it out because as we were leaving she stopped me," Ashley shared Facebook. She continues:

Trying so hard to hold back tears she said, 'Ma'am, I didn't want you to think because...' I interrupted and since I was about to cry myself I just gave her a hug and she whispered 'thank you.' I told them 'have a good night.'

I feel awful for their loss but I'm grateful this encounter happened. It reminded me to never snap judge someone..you never know what others are going through. It also reminded me to live every moment with my children ... to savor the good and bad ... because they are here and they are mine. And also to of course always be kind.

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Wow.

Ashley's experience truly resonated with me, as I too have been guilty of snap judgment. Because these days, it's easy to assume someone has bad intentions and thinks the worst of you and your family.

I'm thankful these mothers were able to have a quick heart-to-heart that likely changed their lives forever. This just goes to show that at the end of the day, love and affection are powerful tools that provide compassion and understanding.

Each and every one of us is enduring a battle right now. Sometimes it's out in the open for all to see -- and sometimes it happens behind closed doors, which gives the appearance everything is okay on the surface.

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Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your story and reminding us to be kind and give the benefit of the doubt -- and also to live in every moment with our children.

I know I feel challenged to do better.

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