After stranger pressures little girl to talk, mom's response goes viral

Nicole Bescoby wants her daughter to know it's OK to refuse to chat with a stranger.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Terri Peters

While Nicole Bescoby was riding the bus, a strange man started chatting with her elementary-aged daughter, Ellie.

Bescoby noticed Ellie's obvious discomfort.

So she tried making small talk with the stranger to take the focus off of her daughter. But when he continued to ask questions, the mom of three from Greater Manchester, England, turned the interaction into a teachable moment.

"I told her, 'Sweetie, you do not have to speak to this person,'" Bescoby told TODAY Parents in an email. "'People do not get to make you feel bad. You can tell him to stop and if he doesn’t listen then he is wrong and you can make sure he knows it.'"

Bescoby later posted about the incident on her Facebook page, HE 3 smalls, where she writes about her family and their homeschooling journey.

"I looked at him and I saw all the times people had ignored my discomfort," Bescoby wrote in the now-viral post. "From grandparents demanding hugs, aunties chasing me to 'pinch a kiss,' being tickled until I couldn’t breathe and it was a long way from fun. Family friends demanding I speak to them. Strangers demanding I be civil, all because it suited them."

Bescoby wants more for her own daughter.

"I want her to know she has a choice," her post continues. "She never has to stay quiet for someone else's benefit. She is powerful and she is able to say stop. I want her to know stop means stop and no means no. And if someone is offended by her boundaries, that's their problem."

Bescoby wrote the post because she wants others to know they don't owe anyone anything.

"It's nice to be friendly, it's nice to chat if you want to, but it's OK to say no and other people should respect that," said Bescoby. "I hope it will empower others to teach their children this lesson and I hope it gives those who do these things some food for thought."

Nicole Bescoby with her daughter, Ellie.Nicole Bescoby

And, while Bescoby said she didn't think her daughter was in danger during the incident, or that the man was a "predator," she took action because she felt he was being disrespectful of Ellie and her boundaries.

"We have these kinds of discussion almost daily," said Bescoby. "Bodily autonomy is hugely important to us. I want (my kids) to know that no one is allowed to force you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable."

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