A wise principal decides to take matters into her own hands after a little girl at her school is mocked by her classmates’ parents for her ‘ugly’ dress.
Little Hailey’s heart was brimming with excitement as she returned home from school. She raced through the doorway and bumped into her mother.
“Careful, little girl. You’ll hurt yourself!” her mother, Elissa, said with a smile.
“Mommy! We’re having a school party! Could you please get me a new dress, mommy? Please?”
That question took away the smile on Elissa’s lips. She knew what the answer would be.
Elissa was struggling. As a single mother and breadwinner for the family, she knew she couldn’t afford a new dress for Hailey. Asking others would not help either, as she had already borrowed money from friends, which she hadn’t returned yet.
So with a heavy heart, she told Hailey she couldn’t get her a new dress.
Sometimes, you meet the brightest people in the darkest time of your life.
“I’m sorry, hun,” she said. “Can we please make do with one of your dresses from last year? Remember the one you wore last Christmas?”
To her surprise, Hailey was ok with it, and she smiled up at her. For a moment, Elissa seemed about to smile back despite the tears in her eyes.
“Thank you, baby,” she said, scooping her little girl into her arms. “Let’s try it on, ok?”
So Hailey tried on the pink dress she’d worn for Christmas and other occasions, and the little girl’s happiness knew no bounds as she twirled in it.
“Do I look pretty, mommy?” she asked sweetly. “Do you think I look beautiful?”
“The best,” said Elissa, teary-eyed. “You look like the prettiest girl in the world!”
Elissa knew the dress was old and frayed, but it was also true that Hailey looked very pretty in it. Her golden curls flowing over her shoulders, big blue eyes, and beautiful smile made her look like nothing less than a princess in Elissa’s eyes.
But two days later, when Hailey and Elissa walked into the school auditorium, they were met with awful stares and demeaning remarks.
Other kids were dressed in fancy attire, their moms wore branded dresses, and their dads wore pressed suits. Elissa looked around and regretted attending the event.
“You’ve got to be kidding, right? Are you really going to pose with us in those outfits?” a woman in an expensive red satin gown mocked her.
“Excuse me?” said Elissa. “Were you talking to me?”
“Your daughter looks like a maid’s daughter in that dress! How can she afford to attend the same school as my son?” the woman shot back.
“That’s a terrible outfit to show up in in the first place,” her husband added. “You can’t even dress your daughter well. What makes you think you belong here?”
After hearing the rude remarks, Hailey’s eyes teared up. “Mommy, do I look different from other children? Do I not look good?” she asked in tears.
“Oh no, sweetie. You look perfect! Some people only know how to put others down!” answered Elissa, hugging her daughter and glaring at the mean parents. “Stop harassing my child! It’s none of your business! Get lost!”
“Well, if someone leaves, it will be you and your beggar daughter!” said another woman. “What a disgrace!”
Hailey couldn’t hold back her tears. She ran outside the hall in tears, and a hurt Elissa followed her.
“I—I just don’t wanna be here, mommy!” Hailey sobbed. “They are so evil! They hate me! They hate my dress too!”
“Oh, honey,” Elissa hugged her. “We’ll go back if that’s what you want, ok? Please stop crying.”
“May I know what’s wrong before you leave?” a soft voice suddenly asked Elissa. She turned around and saw it was the school principal, Mrs. Norton. The older woman had a worried look on her face.
“Mrs. Norton,” said Elissa. “Those kids and their parents inside….”
Elissa narrated what happened back in the hall, and the principal listened to everything attentively.
“Oh, is that it?” she asked in the end. “Come with me, darling! I’ve got an idea!”
Mrs. Norton didn’t take Elissa and Hailey back to the event. Instead, she took them to her office and handed them two dresses from her cupboard in the room. One was a lovely gown for Elissa, and the other was a Cinderella-inspired dress for Hailey.
When Hailey saw the dress, her tears vanished in no time, and she was smiling as she touched the frills of the dress.
“This is so pretty!” the little girl chirped. “Can I really keep it, Mrs. Norton?”
“You can!” Mrs. Norton said. “A week later, please come to school dressed in these. You two, together. There’s a fancy dress competition, and these dresses are from me. Consider them a present.”
“Oh no, Mrs. Norton!” objected Elissa. “We can’t take them. We did nothing to deserve this!”
“Please,” said the older lady. “Keep them and meet me a week later. Do it for my sake.”
Elissa couldn’t refuse Mrs. Norton. The older lady persuaded them to accept the outfits, and a week later, at the competition, all of the moms and children were in awe of the dresses they were wearing.
“Where did your daughter get that outfit?” asked a woman. “She just looks amazing!”
Chirping in delight that day, little Hailey proudly held the trophy as the contest winner. Before leaving the stage, she said, “Thank you to my fairy godmother who helped me with this dress! She’s the sweetest! Thank you, everyone!”
Applause and cheers erupted in the hall, and everyone congratulated Hailey. Those who had previously berated her now felt bad.
Elissa, on the other hand, wondered why Mrs. Norton had those outfits in her closet in her office. She decided to meet her and ask her about it before leaving the school. Little did she know it would leave her in tears.
“I made those dresses by hand…I sewed them for my daughter and granddaughter,” the older lady revealed, her voice breaking. “But, oh dear…please excuse me…” She covered her face as she broke down in tears.
“Mrs. Norton, you alright?” asked Elissa, worried.
“They left me too soon, dear. My daughter and granddaughter passed away in a car crash. I never imagined giving these dresses to anyone … I always kept them in my office. These dresses were supposed to be a present for my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday. I made one for her and one for my daughter…Hailey, darling, you look exactly like my granddaughter in this dress. Oh, you look very lovely! My heart is relieved today. Thank you, darling, for honoring me by wearing these dresses. Thank you very much.”
“Oh ho, Mrs. Norton, don’t be sad.” Little Hailey hugged her waist. “Pretty old ladies should never cry! They look so ugly in tears!”
Mrs. Norton smiled and held Hailey close to her. That consoled the older woman’s broken heart and helped her recover from the grief she’d suffered after losing her daughter and granddaughter.
Opening the heart out can sometimes heal wounds, and it did so for Mrs. Norton’s heart as well.
What can we learn from this story?
Sometimes, you meet the brightest people in the darkest time of your life. Hailey, Elissa, and Mrs. Norton became one another’s rock in tough times and assisted each other in whatever way they could.
Ridiculing someone for their looks or background is a terrible thing to do. The parents who mocked Hailey and Elissa eventually regretted their words when Hailey dressed as a princess for the fancy dress contest and won it.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a set of mean children who mocked a boy’s Halloween costume his dad made until the school principal decided to show off his artistic skills.
This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.