"He remembers to wears his mask, and he does it proudly because he cares and because he doesn't want to see anybody sick," the boy's proud mom said.
A Nevada first-grader has become an internet sensation after his mom revealed why he refused to take off his mask on picture day at school. In a now-viral Facebook post, Nicole Peoples shared how her 6-year-old son, Mason, had insisted on keeping the mask on even while getting his school portrait taken - because she'd asked him to "keep it on all the time." Describing the adorably hilarious incident, Peoples explained that the boy stood his ground when the photographer asked Mason to take off his navy mask before snapping his picture.
"My mom said to keep it on all the time unless I'm eating and far away from everybody," the first-grader told the photographer. In her post, Peoples revealed that even when the photographer attempted to reassure Mason by telling him, "I'm sure it's ok to take it off for your pictures," her son politely declined. "Are you sure you don't want to take it off for 2 seconds?" the photographer asked the young boy one last time. "No thank you, I always listen to my mom," Mason replied. Realizing there was no convincing the youngster, Peoples said the photographer gave in, telling Mason, "Ok, say cheese!"
"I'm so proud of him for sticking to his word but I should have been more clear about my rules on this day," she wrote on Facebook. Speaking to The Washington Post about her son's strict adherence to her instructions, Peoples said on the day of his first-grade school photos, Mason told her he was excited to show the camera his new "big boy" smile as he'd recently lost four teeth. "He was super excited," she said. "I was expecting him to go to school and take his beautiful picture. I thought that he'd show that big, beautiful smile. Instead, he came home with the cutest story."
Despite his excitement, when the photographer asked him to take off his mask for the snap, the boy remembered the COVID-19 precautionary measures his mom taught him before this year's in-person classes began. Peoples revealed that she instructed her son not to drink from the water fountain at school, to keep his mask on at all times except when eating or drinking, and to regularly wash his hands. When Peoples and her husband received the masked photograph of their son earlier this week, the couple agreed they had to buy it, she added.
Is it safe to send kids back to school with the Delta variant spreading? What precautions can we take at home to lower a child’s risk? Should children spend time with grandparents once school starts? Here are answers to questions about returning to school. https://t.co/0NXr8KYX4N— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 30, 2021
"The photo is just a great memory of what's going on and how the kids are overcoming it," Peoples said. "It has a really special meaning because it shows how proud he was to listen and to follow my directions. Even when I wasn't there to remind him, he remembered. He remembers to wears his mask, and he does it proudly because he cares and because he doesn't want to see anybody sick. I hope this does serve as a message to other people, to use this little 6-year-old boy as a symbol to remember to wear your mask out of the kindness of your heart."
Since posting about Mason's school photo story on Facebook, Peoples has received thousands of responses from netizens, many of whom commended her son for keeping his word. "You should be proud! It has to be hard to stand up to an adult but he had the confidence to stand up for what he thought was right. Good job mama," commented Facebook user Alis Meece. "I love it! What an incredible keepsake from this crazy era we're living through," wrote Leia Anderson. After many netizens asked if they could send money, gifts, or college contributions to Mason for his actions, Peoples set up a GoFundMe page for her son, fittingly titled, "I Always Listen to My Mommy!"