Woman talking(l+r), Burger King sign(c)

Gints Ivuskans/Shutterstock @momdontinteract/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘I don’t want to perform emotion for some random stranger’: Delivery worker said Burger King customer told her to ‘smile’ since it’s Christmas

'You don't know what's going on in my life.'


Rachel Kiley


Posted on Dec 28, 2023   Updated on Dec 28, 2023, 7:02 am CST

If you’re never quite sure what to say when a strange man approaches you and suddenly suggests that you smile, there’s plenty of inspiration to be drawn from a recent video posted by a TikToker who just was not having that kind of foolishness over the holidays.

Sara (@momdontinteract) had to swing by Burger King while working her side hustle as a delivery driver on Christmas when she said a random man at the counter told her to smile.

“And I said, ‘No. I don’t want to smile,’” Sara, who has 15,000 followers, recounted. “And he did this exaggerated pull with his mouth: ‘It’s Christmas Day. Smile.’”

She admitted they “ended up arguing at the f***king Burger King counter,” which led to her questioning the man on whether he has that same demanding energy for other men who aren’t smiling. Of course, he claimed that he did, but then refused to tell an unsmiling man nearby to turn that frown upside-down when Sara suggested it.

“He was like, ‘Uh, when he came in, I went like this to him,’” she said, nodding her head in a greeting. “OK, so you nodded at him, but you’re telling me to smile?”

Women going about their day and being told at random by anyone, from co-workers to complete strangers—usually men, in both cases—is wildly common and very rarely welcome. As Sara pointed out in her video, it’s essentially demanding someone “perform happiness to you.” Being told to enact an emotion doesn’t magically make a person feel that emotion, although it runs a pretty high chance of leaving them irritated instead.

“You don’t know what’s going on in my life. It’s my one day off work, and I’m out working my side job. I don’t have to smile at you,” Sara continued. “So much of our lives already center around… having to perform emotion. So on my day off, on my free time, I don’t want to perform emotion for some random stranger.”


♬ original sound – Sara

Sara’s video was viewed 42,000 times. Unsurprisingly, her comments section was filled with women backing her up and sharing frustrating anecdotes of their own.

“Man told me that as I was rushing to train says it can’t be that bad,” wrote @grangran2gigi. “I just found out my mom died sir!”

“Used to happen to me especially when I was young I used to tell them I am smiling looking dead in their eyes,” @mayzellb shared.

At least one person did try pull the common argument in defense of telling women you don’t know to smile, claiming, “He was just being nice.” Another viewer seemed confused about the whole phenomenon, asking, “Is this a real conversation? Because why does some stranger think they can just request you to do something. Like huh?”

Oh, to be able to have that sort of ignorance about it. Another viewer, @anntie,marie, set the record straight, replying, “I don’t know any woman that hasn’t been told to smile by a stranger.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @momdontinteract via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Dec 28, 2023, 10:00 am CST