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Mom's plea after grocery store body-shaming: 'Be nice and have respect'

"You never know what someone is going through or if your one little comment, snicker, or stare will be enough to push them over the edge."
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

A quick trip to the grocery store turned into a humiliating body-shaming incident when Charli Stevens headed to her local Kroger late last week.

Stevens says she and her 5-month-old son, Grayson, were in the store when a woman approached them and made a comment that left the Ohio mom devastated.

"She looked at me and said, 'I think your clothes are a little too small on you,'" Stevens told TODAY Parents. "I was completely shocked and so caught off guard that the only thing I could say was, 'Excuse me?'"

Charli Stevens posted this photo of herself on Facebook after being body-shamed at her local Kroger by a fellow customer.Charli Stevens

To Stevens' horror, the woman repeated herself, adding that she thought Stevens was "too big to be wearing those kind of clothes," and finishing with, "I'm not trying to be mean, but maybe you should reconsider your outfit before you leave your house."

Stevens says she was unable to think of a response and began to cry.

"And that was it," said Stevens, who recently achieved a 50-pound weight loss. "She walked away. Nothing else from her or me. I just stood there, still in shock."

Stevens says she put the items in her shopping cart back on the shelf and left the store, where she cried in her car for a few minutes before driving home. When she arrived home, however, the mom-of-two took to social media, posting a photo of her outfit and an important message about body-shaming.

"Why would a complete stranger go out of their way to insult someone? What if I was severely depressed? Or what if I was constantly made fun of for my weight and that one comment from that stranger pushed me over the edge?" wrote Stevens. "Luckily, I’m neither of those things. But people have got to start being nice. Having common sense. Being respectful. This lady knew nothing about me."

Charli Stevens with her husband, Anthony, and their children, Scarlett, 4, and Grayson, 5 months.Charli Stevens

"I’m not writing this for sympathy," Stevens continued, "but just as a plea to anyone who might read this to just be nice and have respect for people. I fear for my daughter to grow up in this world. We’ve gotta set a good example for our children."

Stevens also has a 4-year-old daughter, Scarlett, and says she wrote the post in part because she teaches her children to love others and not to judge, and hopes others who read her words will remember to do the same.

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"Once our kids are born, they learn everything from us," said Stevens. "Whether we think about it or not, our kids are watching. They're picking up everything we do...we must lift each other up and love each other no matter what we look like."