Monday morning was rough for Dianne Hoffmeyer. Her two-year-old daughter Liliana had been up all night sick and teething.
The Ontario-born Michigan mother of nine decided to make a stop at her favourite Tim Hortons on the way to see the doctor to treat her toddler to some Timbits and get a cappuccino for herself.
As she was making her order, she noticed two middle-aged women walk into the mostly empty coffee shop.
“I heard from behind me, ‘Oh my God, look at her hair it’s so nasty. All of her roots are showing!’” said Hoffmeyer in an interview with Global News.
The 41-year-old mom brushed off the comment, but the insults allegedly kept on coming.
“I had picked out a few more donuts and I heard, ‘Oh, the whale needs to eat,” Hoffmeyer recalled.
Another comment about Hoffemeyer’s weight was lobbed when she ordered her drink.
“I started to cry,” said Hoffmeyer.
The insults were especially hurtful for the now 120-lb woman. Two years ago, Hoffmeyer weighed nearly 300 lbs and decided to go on a weight-loss journey after doctors diagnosed her with congestive heart failure during her pregnancy.
Instead of reacting based on her emotions, Hoffmeyer decided to pay it forward and pay for the womens’ coffees.
“I bought it for them because it was the right thing to do. Instead of perpetuating a negative situation, I wanted to do something positive,” said Hoffmeyer. “I wanted to show my kids that you can make a positive out of a negative anytime.”
Hoffmeyer said she doesn’t even know if the women at the coffee shop were aware of what she had done, but is glad that she did what she did.
WARNING: Some may find the language in the Facebook post offensive.
She posted about the experience on Facebook and the effect has been nearly immediate. Not only has she received worldwide attention and kudos, her children are picking up on the behaviour.
Her 13-year-old son, Teague, was faced with a bully at school and instead of getting into a war of words, the boy offered to buy the bully a cup of coffee.
“He said, ‘Yeah mom, I wanted to do that because that’s what you did when somebody was being mean to you,’” said Hoffmeyer with a smile. “That’s probably the best parenting moment in my life. That they did something that I did because they knew it was a good thing.”
But not all the attention has been positive. Facebook limited Hoffmeyer’s original profile because other users reported some of the memes she had posted poking fun at herself, and threats were made directed at her family.
“People went through my Facebook and found a bunch of memes and said, ‘You’re a rotten person,’” said Hoffmeyer. “All the things that I shared were how I felt about myself during different parts of my life. When I weighed 297 lbs, I put things up there that reflected how I felt.”
“I did not think any of this was going to happen,” said Hoffmeyer. “I don’t want my kids to end up being hurt because of this.”
Global News contacted the Fort Gratiot Tim Hortons, but they declined to comment.