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Dad Carrying Sick Daughter Turns Insult Into Teachable Moment

BOSTON (CBS) - A six-year-old Nebraska girl undergoing treatment in Boston for cancer can teach us a lot about kindness. Her name is Emma and when her family was in town earlier this month, her dad had an awkward encounter with a stranger.

The confrontation could have turned ugly, but instead, became a teachable moment.

"Emma has brought love, strength and compassion to our family," said Brent Gehring, Emma's father.

At seven months old, Emma was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that started behind her right eye and spread to the right side of her brain.

Earlier this month, the family was in Boston for Emma's treatment.

Emma Strong
Brent, Emma and Kathryn Gehring (WBZ-TV)

After dinner at the Union Oyster House, Emma's dad Brent carried her in his arms, and for some reason, a stranger criticized his parenting. "He said, and I quote, 'What the 'F' are you doing?' He goes 'That's what's wrong with kids. Make her walk.'"

For a moment, Brent got angry, but then chose to respond this way: "I said well, for a matter of fact my daughter can't walk and I'm happy to carry her because she's been carrying my faith and my ability to function for the last five years."

Brent says kindness is something he's learned from Emma and he's shared the story on social media.

"I thought this is a powerful moment and a powerful time to share a story of the right way of doing things," Brent said. "To think I would be sitting here five years after post diagnosis and think that this has been a gift, is crazy."

Brent says after he and the stranger talked, they both cried. If you want to know more about Emma and her family, you can follow Emma Strong on Facebook.

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