A couple from Round Rock, Texas received a note from their neighbor that has gone viral. The note, in childlike handwriting, was left on the doorstep of Meghan Stabler and Sal Stow's house, and they both shared it on social media after crossing out the writer's name.
"We're moving away today, but I wanted to thank you," the letter began. "Seeing a pride flag was so proudly outside your house every day have given me the courage to come out to my family and be more comfortable with who I am."
The letter also had a drawing of a person holding a red, white and blue flag as well as a rainbow flag.
On Facebook, Stow wrote about how she discovered the touching letter. "I just went out to collect 2 packages from the doorstep (at my partner Meghan's house, that I call home) only to find this note under a rock on the mat," she wrote. "This is why visibility is SO important. You never know who needs the support and to know it's ok."
"Williamson County is extremely conservative and in fact the County Commissioners voted 4-0 to not allow the pride flag to be flown on the Round Rock county court buildings," Stow's post continued. "I am proud of who I am and the person I love. I will continue to be visible in whatever way I can."
Stow told CBS News the letter made her instantly emotional. "Tears began to well and fall as I read the note, realizing that our simple visibility of flying the Pride flag year-found had such an impact on a young person," she said. "My next thought is that I hope this young person is OK. I hope their family's been supportive, and I hope this young person has the support they need."
Her third thought was to share the letter with her partner, who was on a flight to London. "I felt humbled that something we had done, unknowingly, had helped somebody in their coming out process and in accepting themselves," Stow said.
Stow and Stabler were simply being themselves and showing their pride – but that made a huge impact on someone in their community. By posting the letter on social media, the impact reached even wider.
"Reading comments and seeing that people say, 'I wish I had this kind of visibility when I was younger,' it for me echoes how important right now visibility is within the LGBTQ community," Stow told CBS News.
Stow, a teacher, says she wears rainbow pins to work and hangs them in her classroom. "My students and my colleagues know. Because if I don't live out and proud, I just perpetuate that it's something to be shameful of, and it's not," she said. "I'm no different than anybody else. I love who I love – and love is love."
She said she is thankful the she works in an accepting school district that offers protections for LGBTQ staff and students. "And that's important because if students don't feel safe, they don't excel as they could if they were feeling safe," Stow said.
Stow hopes flying the Pride flag inspires others to not only feel comfortable, but also push to expand protections for the LGBTQ community. "I hope people know that LGBTQ visibility should be year-round, not just during Pride Month," she said. "Whatever small things people can do to be visible can make a difference. You might not know that difference, but it does make a difference to somebody."