Julie Mazziotta
December 07, 2017 12:59 PM

An Ohio mom was shocked after a stranger body shamed her on a recent trip to the supermarket.

Charli Stevens was shopping with her 5-month-old son when she noticed a woman staring.

“I honestly thought she was going to tell me ‘Go Buckeyes’ as I was wearing an Ohio State top and they were playing later that night — and we were in Columbus, Ohio. I never thought for a second she would say anything about my appearance besides that,” Stevens, 27, tells PEOPLE.

Instead, the woman told Stevens, “I think your clothes are a little too small on you.” Stevens was taken aback and responded with, “Excuse me?” The stranger followed with, “Well no offense, but you’re just a bit big to wear those types of clothes.”

At that point Stevens, a medical assistant, started to cry. But the stranger would not let up. “I’m not trying to be mean, but you should reconsider your outfit before leaving the house,” she said.

Stevens decided to share her story on Facebook — along with a photo of her outfit that day — in the hopes of reducing body shaming.

“How are people so rude? It’s no secret that I’ve gained weight throughout life. I’ve birthed two kids so it’s bound to happen. Do I realize I’m overweight? Yes. Do I want to be smaller? Yes. But am I okay with the way I look? Yes!!” she posted on Facebook. “Why would a complete stranger go out of their way to insult someone? What if I was severely depressed? Or what if I was constantly made fun of for my weight and that one comment from that stranger pushed me over the edge?”

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Stevens also adds that she’s glad her 4-year-old daughter wasn’t with her that day.

“She would’ve seen me be weak. And cry. I never want her to see my like that. Not for something out of my control,” Stevens says. Plus, she adds, “because I don’t want her to see how evil and disrespectful some people can be. I tell my daughter every day that she is beautiful and that I’m so proud of her.”

Her daughter is also the main reason why Stevens decided to speak out about the hazards of body shaming.

“I teach my daughter every day to love everyone and to not judge anyone,” she says. “Once our kids are born, they learn everything from us. Whether we think about it or not, our kids are watching. They’re picking up on everything we do. Our kids learn to hate and be mean from us. I said [on Facebook] that I feared for my daughter to grow up in this world and I truly meant it.”

Charli Stevens/Facebook

And she says sharing her story on Facebook has made a difference.

“I am very humbled by all the kind words,” Stevens says. “I didn’t post the story for sympathy nor was I fishing for likes and comments. I just felt so compelled to speak out against this woman and be a voice for others who have gone through this similar situation.”

“I really hope those that read my post will just remember to instill kindness in their children’s lives, because our children are our future.”

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