Parents will stop at nothing to provide for their children, even foregoing their own food and comfort to ensure the health and well-being of their offspring. It’s a thankless job that sons and daughters often take for granted.
But that’s definitely not the case for a young woman in Thailand, who acknowledged her mother’s lifelong devotion in a poignant image caught on camera after she won a beauty pageant.
Khanittha “Mint” Phasaeng never thought of herself as beauty queen material, especially considering her background: She grew up impoverished, often accompanying her mom to collect garbage and recyclables in their neighborhood.
When she won the Miss Uncensored News Thailand beauty contest in 2015, she said, “It felt like a dream. I thought how can an ordinary girl like me be a beauty queen.”
“All I have accomplished today is because of my mother’s hard work,” she said.
Which is why one particular photograph captured the hearts of millions. It showed Khanittha, then 17, wearing her crown and sash, kneeling at her mother’s feet. Large garbage bins served as a meaningful backdrop.
She praised her mother’s work ethic and toughness, calling trash collection and recycling “an honest profession” that put food on the table and allowed her to finish high school.
Khanittha’s story is a great reminder about the dignity in a hard day’s work, whether it’s behind a computer in a New York City high-rise, or collecting garbage in a small Thai village.
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