By Jessie Funk

Today I received an incredibly alarming message from a close friend. She took a picture of a Yelp review from a Coldstone ice creamery. A customer blatantly harassed an employee of the establishment through social media. Her words cut through me like an icy blade. I can’t imagine what the employee felt after she read the review. I also discovered that this same woman made her feelings known to the employee before going home to write the invasive review.

There are so many things that are wrong with this scenario. But before we get to that let’s talk about the hero of the story. The owner of Coldstone responded with profoundly wise words to this woman’s public comment. He displayed his loyalty and genuine concern for his team member. Within short order, our Coldstone owner/hero responded to the review and the entire community rallied behind this sweet girl; shortly thereafter, the initial review was removed.

This story showcases two very important things. Number one: bullying is not just a teen problem. Number two: bystanders have so much power.

The work that we are doing at Be Strong and any work that you can do and are doing in your own community to stand up for what’s right – matters! Kindness makes a difference.

I called Coldstone, which is only a few minutes from my home, to thank the owner for displaying such leadership and to ask about the employee. He said that she had a difficult time at first, but with such an outpouring of love and support, she is doing fine and will heal from this. Kindness heals.

As for the woman who started this episode, I am a firm believer that every aggressor and every abuser is worthy of forgiveness. Every person is worthy of the opportunity to change. I hope that she has learned a valuable lesson and in moving forward becomes a better human being.

This woman taught all of us a valuable lesson. Bullying does not stop after school and we all need to decide what kind of person we want to be – today and forever. Do we prefer to treat people they way we want to be treated with kindness and compassion, or do we want to be a person who is mean spirited and rude towards others?

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