Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Mom Thanks Unnamed Skateboarder for Helping Her Daughter at Skate Park

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Mom Thanks Unnamed Skateboarder for Helping Her Daughter at Skate Park

Article excerpt

Mom's letter to skateboarder goes viral

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A southern Ontario mom is hoping to thank an anonymous teenage boy for helping break down gender barriers for her six-year-old daughter.

Jeanean Thomas says her only child, Peyton, had always wanted to take up skateboarding but had been intimidated from doing so by the lack of girls she saw on the streets.

Thomas says a trip to a local skateboard park seemed to reinforce this fear until the unidentified teen stepped in.

Thomas says the boy, who she estimates to be about 15, took the time to come over to her daughter, correct her stance on the board and generally offer helpful tips.

She says he continued to offer advice for about an hour while still interacting with his friends, some of whom indulged in some light heckling as he coached Peyton.

Thomas says she posted a letter to the unknown teen on social media in an effort to thank him for his kindness and show him that his actions had value beyond the skateboard track.

"(Young people) don't have to conform to any kind of gender stereotypes," the 29-year-old said in a telephone interview. "If they find something that interests them, then do it. Don't listen to what people tell you you should or shouldn't be doing based on your gender."

Thomas said such lessons formed an early part of her childhood when she was encouraged to indulge her love of the Ninja Turtles while her brother played with Butterfly Barbie.

Peyton's early fascination with skateboarding, she said, simply struck her as an extension of her mom's early preferences. But Thomas said her daughter perceived barriers where she herself never had.

"One day she said, 'I really wish that I could skateboard.' And I said, 'well, why can't you? My old skateboard's in the basement. Go for it.' And she went, 'You have a skateboard?' And I said, 'yeah, why is that weird?" And she's like, 'I thought only boys skateboarded.'"

Thomas said it took some coaxing to get her daughter to overcome her scruples and venture out to the park in Cambridge, Ont. …

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