It all started last weekend when Hankins sent her 13-year-old daughter Bella into an Arkansas Walmart to pick up some essentials.
When Bella couldn’t find what she was looking for, she texted her mom and ignited a comedic back-and-forth.
Since being shared over social media, Hankins took to her Facebook page to explain her experience.
“I posted screenshots of a text exchange between myself and my daughter, AS I HAVE BEEN DOING FOR YEARS, because I thought it was funny,” she wrote. “This wild ride that has been the accidental creation of a ‘viral’ Internet thing. I did not intend to do that.”
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Hankins says it all started when some of her friends had asked her to make her post public. She only expected it to be shared an extra half dozen times outside of her circle of friends.
But in a span of a few days, the post garnered over 57,000 shares and over 40,000 likes on Facebook as of Wednesday afternoon.
That’s largely because people, especially women, can relate to the hilarious exchange.
Despite widespread appreciation, Hankins said she has received some harsh criticism from people online questioning her parenting choices.
And while she refused to address them all, one critique particularly bothered her.
“(The) #1 critique seems to be: ‘What was a 13-year-old doing ALONE in a drugstore after midnight?'” Hankins wrote. “Yes, she went in alone while I waited in the car. She does this ALL THE TIME, and is proficient at it. She even (gasp) uses a debit card! How SOPHISTICATED.”
She added, “My 13-year-old (14 next month) is taller than me. She has a set of lungs on her you wouldn’t believe… She is extremely precocious even for her age, and is about the age I was when I started babysitting for ACTUAL BABIES… The idea that she is incapable of walking into a store, buying a thing, and walking back out to where I am parked 10 feet from the entrance is just… I don’t even know what that is.”
Hankins has received a flood of friend requests over Facebook. And although she can’t say she’ll accept every one, she does promise to eventually look through them all.
“Friends of friends will be considered first,” she wrote, “and as for everyone else, I’ll have to see what I can see on public profiles. As I’m sure you now understand, I am being VERY careful about adding people.”
Hankins’s full post can be read below.