When a white mother in Georgia realized she wasn't doing her black daughter's hair correctly, she turned to social media for advice — and a woman she had never even met offered to help.
Two days after Stephanie Hollifield posted about her daughter's hair on Facebook, Monica Hunter arrived at her home armed with "advice, headbands, combs and hair product."
Now their story has gone viral, and Hollifield is calling it a reminder of "the importance of kindness."
Hollifield, one of the bloggers behind Momstrosity.co, explained on her blog that when she adopted her daughter, Haley, many of her black friends "pulled me aside and shared with me the importance of educating myself on African-American hair care."
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"I have consulted with salons, watched YouTube videos, and taken notes on everything my friends shared," she wrote. "There has never been a product that was recommended to me that I didn't immediately go out and buy.
"As a white mama, I am deeply aware of the social and cultural areas of parenting where I will have to reach out for support," she continued.
But despite all her effort, she still wasn't getting it. Hollifield wrote on Facebook that Haley's hair "looks great for about an hour or two and then it is tangly and clumpy again." That's when Hunter, a stranger who noticed the Facebook post, reached out and offered to come over and help.
"She asked for nothing in return and wouldn't accept my money," Hollifield wrote on Facebook. "By the time she left, I had a little more confidence in fixing my daughter's hair, and most importantly I felt supported by my new friend."
Hollifield declined an interview with TODAY, but directed us to a blog post where she muses about the attention she and Hunter have received since sharing their story.
"For a minute, I couldn't understand why Monica's act of generosity was so shocking to people," she wrote. "Beautiful? Yes! Heartwarming? Certainly! But, newsworthy? That took me by surprise. Then it clicked. It is newsworthy, because this is so uncommon. So inspirational. In our country, where everything seems so divisive, this quiet act of kindness spoke loudly to people from all walks of life."
It's not the first time hair has brought people from different backgrounds together.
In 2016, a photo of a white man in California, TV news anchor Frank Somerville, went viral. In the image, he was taking out his black daughter's braids. There are blogs that teach white parents how to care for black hair, and more broadly, support groups for transracial adoption, which help families bridge cultural gaps they may not understand, including but not limited to hair.
As Hollifield sees it, we all benefit from sharing with each other.
"This is newsworthy because Monica saw a need that she could meet and she did something about it," she wrote. "As simple and as complex and honorable as that. This is rare. This is what we need more of."