Jessica McDaniels was capturing a friend’s proposal in May 2017 for Facebook. Little did she know that someone also snapped a photo of this wonderful event, but at a different angle! McDaniels was just standing in the background, clearly happy for her friend. She didn’t know that this picture would make her life miserable.
The stranger who took the photo shared it on social media. It was already edited! It was zoomed in on McDaniel’s face and it was cropped to perfection. This is when her photo went viral online, for all the wrong reasons. The comments people made were downright cruel and hateful. Others compared McDaniels to a donkey while others are even worse.
McDaniels is a 32-year-old single mom and works as a hairdresser. She knows how it is like to be bullied because she has been facing this all her life because of her teeth. It started when she was 12 years old. This is also when her teeth started coming out and they became crooked with a severe overbite. She said, “I didn’t care about them talking about me – I just wanted to protect my kids.”
One of her high school classmates, Krystal Starks saw the picture online and she knew she could not ignore it any longer. According to Sparks, for a person doing something innocent and to get ridiculed and taken advantage by the others is horrible. This is surely not worth the likes and shares that you will get for your post. She knew right then and there that she wants to help McDaniels. She launched a GoFundMe page to help her raise money for her old classmate so she can have her teeth fixed.
On the GoFundMe page, Starks wrote about McDaniel’s story. She said that her classmate’s picture has gone viral for a reason that she didn’t like. She thinks that it is sad that most of the people that are reposting and doing this cyberbullying are adults. She emphasized that Jessica has struggled with this issue and has been teased for most of life about her teeth. She is pleading to the public that instead of criticizing and tearing Jessica down, to support her dream instead and make her smile perfect.
“As citizens, we need to band together and turn this negativity into positivity.”
The account was able to reach almost $10,000! What made it better is that an oral surgeon named Dr. Maryann Udy offered to fix McDaniel’s smile, for free!
The journey to fix McDaniel’s smile took time and several steps but right after her first visit, she looked incredible and unrecognizable! The money that was raised from the GoFundMe account will be paying off some of her debt along with her household costs. She even plans to start a nonprofit to also help others who had the same experience as her.
Our parents never fail to remind us to take care of our smiles. It may not describe who we are as a person but the more you smile, the better you feel. But how can you possibly do that when you do not possess that killer smile and pearly whites? McDaniel’s felt thankful that even if she got bullied because of her appearance, this eventually leads to her amazing transformation! Now, McDaniels is even posting her own selfies online and showing the world how beautiful she is, inside out.