CLOVER, S.C. — “But she doesn’t look like you. We have lots of other dolls that look more like you.”
It was those words that came from a Target cashier in that made Brandi Benner angry.
Benner was shopping with her 2-year-old daughter Sophia to celebrate the toddler’s big potty training milestone.
“I told her that if she had no accidents and no diapers for a whole month she could pick out a big prize,” Benner said.
The little girl and her mother made the trip to Target a few days ago. Benner says she already knew what her daughter would pick.
“Whenever she gets to pick out a present on her own, she picks a doll almost every time,” she said.
In Sophia’s playroom in their Clover home there are dolls of every size and shade scattered about. Along the wall, she has a closet full of dress-up clothes. Her favorite? A doctor’s coat, complete with all the tools of the trade.
“I get checkups at least five times a day,” Benner joked. “I get shots daily.”
So when Sophia saw a doctor doll on the store shelf, she had to have her.
“She immediately fell in love with it,” Benner said.
Sophia named her new doll Meghan. Meghan is black. Sophia is white.
When Sophia brought the doll to the cashier, the older lady behind the register looked at her with a puzzled expression.
“Are you going to a birthday party?” Benner said the cashier asked her little girl.
Sophia hesitated to answer, so Benner explained it was a potty-training reward.
That’s when the cashier turned to Sophia and supposedly said, “Oh. Well, are you sure this is the doll you want honey? Because, she doesn’t look like you and we have lots of other dolls here that look like you.”
Benner says her brain could not process a response fast enough. But little Sophia’s did.
“She does (look like me.) Because she’s a doctor like I’m a doctor. She’s a pretty girl and I’m a pretty girl. See her stethoscope?” the ‘Doc McStuffins’ fan explained.
Benner said the cashier let it go. The pair went on their way. But when she got home, she was so proud, Benner posted the encounter on her personal Facebook page. It’s had hundreds of thousands of likes and shares in just a few days.
Benner says, if she’d known it would have gotten so much attention, she probably never would have posted anything.
“I don’t believe she was doing it to be malicious,” Benner said. “She’s a different generation.”
But she’s proud she’s raising a daughter who sees the world differently. Sophia may not be a doctor yet, but she certainly knows a thing or two about healing and love.
“Just to stick to love. Love is love is love. And that means every color, every person, every interaction,” Benner said. “We could attack and go negative because of what she said, but my daughter just responded in love and that’s the heart of all of it.”