When mum Michelle Icard, from South Carolina, overheard three real-life mean girls gossiping out their classmates, she felt compelled to do something about it.

The author and public speaker was sitting in a Starbucks café when the teenage girls at a nearby table started talking loud enough for her to hear.

Disturbed by what they were saying to each other, Michelle took to Facebook to vent her concerns:

I’m crawling out of my skin sitting next to three very pretty, very boisterous, horribly behaved young teenage girls at the Cotswold Starbucks. So far they have laughed about 1) a girl who wrote a song for the talent show about being lonely (She is so weird!) 2) the crappy presents they have gotten in the past from friends 3) girls who copy them (the worst) OH and just now, how “Catherine wanted to be the lead singer but we took a vote and everyone wanted me instead so sorry Catherine you can be the manager.” It is taking all my restraint to keep from exploding so I’m complaining to you all instead.

Good luck, Catherine, wherever you are. I hope you find nicer friends!

Michelle left the café, but the conversation played on her mind and she decided to take action. Hurrying home, she wrote a quick note inside a card and then returned to the café to hand it to the girls.

Here’s what happened next:

I left and went to do my grocery shopping, conflicted the whole time, and I could see the girls still sitting in Starbucks as I drove home. I ran into my house, grabbed a note card and wrote a quick, heartfelt note.

Then I ordered three mini frappucinos on my mobile app and headed back up to Starbucks. They were still there. I walked up to them and said, “Hi Girls. You don’t know me but it looks like you’re here studying and I wrote you a note of encouragement.” I handed them the card and walked away.

This is what the note said:

Hi Girls!

I sat near you today in Starbucks and listened as you talked. You three are obviously pretty and hard-working. I wish your kindness matched your pretty exteriors. I heard you talk about a girl who sang a song about being lonely in the talent show – and you laughed. About a girl who couldn’t be lead singer because you got all the votes, about crappy presents other people have given you…and you sounded so mean and petty.

You are smart and you are pretty. It would take nothing from you to also be kind. – M.

Since Michelle didn’t stick around to see how the girls reacted to the note, we’ll never know how it was received or whether it made the three teens pause to consider how they were behaving. But the note has certainly stirred up plenty of emotion online.

On Facebook, one person commented: “Thank you for your gentle reminder that we all can be kinder towards one another. It needs to be said and practiced more often.”

But another felt that Michelle had overstepped the mark: “We are ALL guilty of gossiping and talking about others, adults included. So we ALL must be BRATS! Does that mean we should all be called out on it and ridiculed on social media?”

What do you think? Was this harmless gossiping between a group of friends, or was Michelle right to call them out on their behaviour?