The Picture That Changed It All
It was the first time in months that they had visited the beach. She was fully aware that her kid wouldn’t be able to maintain her composure if she didn’t spend at least an hour in the South Carolina sun.
They were, however, in for a tremendous shock. They easily made it to the shore, took a photo, and uploaded it on the Internet. Now, the entire nation is gushing about it.
Shonda Jackson was a single mom. Still, this hadn’t stopped her from doing her best to give her daughter Linda a good life. Shonda worked as a personal assistant at an interior design firm, and she had been quite well-off for some years now.
The two of them lived in a house in a nice neighborhood in South Carolina with a dog named Fufu. They liked to keep to themselves, and they didn’t really like to attract unwanted attention: still, they reached viral status for the wrong reasons.
The Perfect Trio
Shonda, Lily, and Fufu got along beautifully. Everything in the household worked in a perfect manner, like a well-greased machine. It was a haven of peace and harmony.
Little did they know that something was about to burst their little bubble; and as a result, they would see themselves forced to live like recluses for months, missing the times when they were just anonymous, regular people.
As everyone knows, a couple of years ago travel and mobility were heavily restricted. Unfortunately for Shonda and her daughter, this meant that they couldn’t do their favorite things: hiking, going to the movies, and especially, going to the beach.
The sudden regulations took a real toll on Shonda; she had grown up on the coast. Still, she knew that they were necessary and stayed home. Very soon, things would take a turn.
The World Opens Up
After some time, things started to change: the general situation started to get better, and the government started uplifting, slowly but steadily, all the restrictions.
Shonda and her daughter were ecstatic when the government first announced that people could go into the streets freely again. They couldn’t wait to leave the house after staying there trapped for months. They didn’t know what was waiting for them outside.
For Shonda and her daughter, one of the first things in their bucket list was spending a few days at the beach. They spent the weeks leading up to the big day talking about what they would do when they got there.
Who would they go see, where would they eat? They planned everything. However, South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach had something in the books for them that they didn’t expect.
Finally, the big day arrived for Shonda’s family; the three of them braced themselves for a car ride to Myrtle Beach. They were really looking forward to it.
They packed all their things and got everything ready. But as Shonda was carrying the bags to her car, she noticedd something: the blue sky above their heads was slowly turning grey.
Shonda, Lili, and Fufu sat in the house, witnessing the rainy day from behind the windows. They’d hoped it would be nothing more than a little shower, but it got even worse. They had to cancel their trip to the beach.
But even though it didn’t stop raining for the whole day, Shonda and her daughter didn’t take off their swimsuits. They watched some movies and made cookies wearing them, waiting for the weather to get better.
We’ll Still Go
It was close to 5 pm when it finally stopped raining. When the first signs of the sky clearing up appeared, Lily and Fufu rushed back into the car.
Feeling just as excited as they were, Shonda jumped behind the wheel too and drove to Myrtle Beach. But as they were approaching the shore, they noticed it. Something wasn’t completely right.
All Myrtle Beach was as completely dry. The rain had only fallen over Shonda’s neighborhood, but not anywhere else; and of course, not the beach.
Shonda couldn’t stand the fact that she had just waited for hours at the house, without checking whether it was raining on the beach or not. But as she was thinking and reflecting about this, she suddenly noticed something else.
This adorable boy walked up to Lily and Fufu and introduced himself. He had a shark tooth around his neck, which he quickly showed to Lily.
After a brief smile-fueled conversation, the boy and Lily parted ways. Shonda was surprised by the interaction because she’d never seen the boy before. But something else happened that made her mouth fall open.
A Wonderful Thing
The boy suddenly showed up again. He came sprinting with a bright smile and seemingly in slow motion. He called out Lily’s name, who turned to him with her lips curled.
The two shared another brief conversation centered around the boy’s cool necklace and how it gave him superpowers. Sensing they were about to storm off to play, Shonda knew she had to do something or lose this moment forever.
Immortalizing The Moment
With permission from the boy’s mom, Shonda asked the boy and Lily if she could snap a photo of them. Without any hesitation, the two positioned themselves near each other, and cracked smiles fit to light up the evening.
Shonda’s heart swelled at that moment, and as the two went to play along the beach with Fufu, she stared at the photo with parted lips. But it would only get better.
As darkness began swallowing the evening, Lily and the boy shared almost twenty goodbyes and hugged for a long time. Shonda and the boy’s mom were left speechless, each knowing that the two had never met.
Despite this glaring fact, they seemed like they’d known each other for years. As Shonda drove back home that night, she couldn’t help but think about the photo she’d taken.
A Wholesome Story
One of the best parts of the photo was that Lily and the boy embraced each other despite being from different cultural backgrounds. Their connection had been instant, superseding race and skin color.
Still reeling from all she’d witnessed, Shonda decided to share the story on Facebook. She hoped her family would see the miracle she’d just witnessed.
A Great Night
Shonda took her family into the house with the photo posted and started dinner. Feeling high in spirit, she made mac and cheese, fried chicken, collard greens, and biscuits, Lily’s favorite.
She also put one of their favorite songs on repeat, dancing with Lily and Fufu as they made everything. She had no clue what was happening on her Facebook account.
On The Facebook Side Of Things
Unknown to Shonda and her daughter, the photo was gaining traction on Facebook. A few of her family and friends had commented and shared it, setting it loose to the world.
People from all walks of life witnessed the photo’s greatness. Each of them liked or left a heart reaction on the image, most sharing it with their loved ones. By the time Shonda’s family was done cooking, something incredible had happened.
It’s Self-Sustaining Now
The photo had gone viral in just a few hours. Shonda had barely sat after posting it, going in to cook for Fufu and Lily. But as they sat, ready to eat, she decided to check her notifications before putting her phone on silent for dinner.
After a quick prayer, she turned her phone on, ready to see what her family and friends thought about her daughter and their new friend at the beach.
Don’t Break My Phone
Shonda almost fell off her chair when she saw the number of notifications on her phone. The device was constantly buzzing, thousands of notifications flooding in.
She breathed in and out, unsure of what was happening. She didn’t know why her family and friends would create such a buzz around such a harmless photo.
“What’s wrong, mommy,” Lily asked, a flash of worry passing through her eyes. “Nothing, honey,” Shonda lied. She served her daughter some of the food they’d spent hours making and asked her to start eating.
She served Fufu, too, adding some dog treats in the mix to balance his diet. With the most important people in her life occupied by food, she turned her phone on again.
It’s So Laggy
More notifications had crammed into Shonda’s phone, making the device lag as she tried to access Facebook. But Shonda was never one to give up so easily.
She fought through the stickiness, closing several apps on her phone. After a quick restart of her device, she got into Facebook. What she saw made her mouth fall open for the second time that day.
Her notifications bar was frozen, counting thousands of notifications waiting to be catered to. Shonda knew where everything pointed and didn’t waste time heading there.
She found the photo she’d posted earlier and grinned before setting her phone down. “Oh my God,” she muttered, covering her mouth when Lily and Fufu looked up from their plates.
The photo had thousands upon thousands of reactions, comments, and shares. Whatever was happening was overwhelming, and Shonda needed to breathe first.
With a grin, she took her phone again, ready to go through the comments. But someone called her, driving her closer to the edge than she already was. The caller was ready to tell her what was happening.
Her Mom Calls
Shonda received the call, hearing her mom’s voice. Her mom informed her that while discussing the innocence and beauty in the picture, the reactions had started growing.
Suddenly, random people started leaving heartfelt comments and sharing the photo. That brought in even more people who left comments and mentioned their friends. But that wasn’t even the best part.
The Comment Section
Among the positive comments were many people praising Lily and the boy for not seeing color and being friends the way they were. Others commended Lily and the boy’s mom for instilling great values in their kids.
But among this rain of praise was a comment that caught Shonda’s eyes. One look at the account that posted it, and Shonda knew why the person had written whatever they wrote.
An Unlikely Comment
Shonda had separated from Lily’s dad while her baby was just two months old. She vowed she would raise her alone and help her become the best human on the face of the planet.
The comment at hand mentioned that the love present on that beach that day was very pure. It described Lily as the prettiest, most intelligent, and most humble and loving daughter ever. Shonda couldn’t believe who had posted it.
The Commenter’s Identity
The person who’d left the comment was the boy’s mom. Her comment received hundreds of reactions, which drew Shonda’s attention. She knew she had to contact her.
After double-checking the woman’s identity and ascertaining she was the boy’s mother, Shonda invited her over for a play date. She’d had a great time talking to the boy’s mom at the beach and would love to be friends.
The boy’s mom responded almost immediately, thanking Shonda for all the kind words she said about her son in the post. As they came from Miami, her family was in town for the week, but they would love to meet Shonda’s family for an afternoon of fun.
The same way that Lily and the boy, whose name was Justin connected was the same way Shonda and the boy’s mom, Emily, became friends. The day that followed would be one for the books.
Shonda told Lily everything that was happening. How did she feel about spending the following day on the beach with Justin, his mom, and Fufu?
Lily was overjoyed, barely even finishing her food. She ran to her room and came back with her favorite beach outfits. If they were going back there, they would do it in style
Another Day At The Beach
Shonda, Lily, and Fufu went to meet Emily and Justing at the beach the next day. The five of them had the best day ever. Even now, both families are still very close.
In Shonda’s words, “This is a moment that we humans can understand as simply seeing no color lines, no judgment, no race, no hate, no shades.” It is truly an eye-opening story.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.