Tiffany Wait said she and her husband went to Bible Baptist Church’s Toy Shop on Christmas morning to get gifts for their 7-month-old son but were turned away when she declined to hand over the baby for a volunteer to hold.
“I am poor and would not be able to celebrate Christmas this year without their charity,” Wait said. “I went last year and it was a life saver. This year however, I was treated shockingly bad.”
She said she didn’t want to hand over her baby, who doesn’t like strangers, but the volunteer insisted she had to or the family couldn’t participate in the giveaway.
“I stood there, fighting back tears and asked, ‘You would turn a baby away on Christmas,’” Wait said.
But she said the volunteers refused to make an exception, and Wait said one woman tried to take the child away from her.
Another woman eventually passed a toy to the front of the line and gave it to Wait, she said.
She later posted the story on social media, where Oklahoma Atheists members saw it and decided to help the family.
“We had several people donate things and send her money through a PayPal,” said the group’s director, Red McCall, who said Christmas had become a secular holiday.
“Her Christmas was ruined,” he said. “The big message here is Tiffany was discriminated against, and if someone needs help we are going to help them. It doesn’t matter what their beliefs are.”
Wait said the group had saved Christmas for her family in a time of need.
“The Christians turned my baby and I away, and a group of atheists showed us compassion, kindness, and charity,” she said. “They brought us toys, dinner, gift cards, donated money and really saved our holiday.”
Wait said a member of Bible Baptist Church, Shayla Clemmons, stopped by her home later and said the volunteers had acted inappropriately.
“She brought us a bunch of Christmas stuff,” Wait said. “She said they shouldn’t have done that and that there are no ‘rules.’”
The church’s head pastor said he and other church members attempted to go to Wait’s house five times Christmas night but were unable to reach her, and he said he intends to continue trying to contact her.
“I’m sure she has a very legitimate reason for feeling the way she does,” said Hayes. “I regret what happened. We are certainly not in the business of creating that type of atmosphere on Christmas for any individual.”
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