Some times it’s shocking to receive kindness from strangers. We’re so used to the rudeness and selfishness of others. Like the woman who nearly backed up into the boys and I as we walked through the parking lot. She started backing out just as we were dead-center behind her. (“It was at a funny angle.” “It’s behind you Tyrone. Whenever you reverse, things come from behind you.”) Luckily she was slow, and I was able to push the boys in front of me and jumped out of the way. If I hadn’t had Tornado A in my arms, I would’ve kicked her car to scare her. I don’t think the woman ever saw us.
I’m careful in parking lots. Cars are bigger; the boys are my responsibility. Even so, I claimed it as my fault when a SUV nearly hit us as we crossed the parking lot. We were cutting through the spaces at a diagonal. I was trying to save time, but that wasn’t worth the sacrifice. The woman driving the SUV was talking on her cell phone when she nearly clipped us. I sighed and chalked it to my stupidity and moved my ducklings along.
As I searched for the perfect bunch of broccoli, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see the woman from the SUV behind me. Crap. What now?
The Woman: I’m so glad I found you. I’m so sorry for nearly hitting you. I just wanted to apologize. And my, look how handsome your boys are. Hi, boys!
Me: Um, uh. No, it was my fault. I was cutting through the parking lot. We must have been hard to see. I’m usually much more careful.
The Woman: Well, I was driving too fast and on that stupid phone. People walk through parking lots. You can’t be too careful. I hate to think what could have happened. I’m sorry.
Me: I guess we’ll both take responsibility and be more careful in the future.
The Woman: Fine. Have a great day!
Me: You too!
Later I tried to put my groceries on the conveyor belt as Tornado A was bound and determined to stand up in the seat of the cart. He was quite proud of himself. I had visions of him landing on his head on the hard, cold floor. I sat him down with a firm “no” and return to put another item or two on the belt to turn to repeat the process all over again.
A woman pulled her cart behind me. She watched the scene and said goodbye to her friend on her cell phone. When I turned back to Tornado A, she had her hands out to catch him as he stood.
A Woman: No, no, little guy. Careful.
Giving up on speed and efficiency, giving in to Tornado A to be in my arms (Something that will bite me in the ass in later shopping adventures), I picked Tornado A up and set him on my hip.
A Woman: If it’s all right with you and he lets me, I can hold him for you.
She held out her arms. Tornado A smiled and dove for her. My clingy mama’s boy went to a complete stranger, and no, she didn’t look a thing like me or any other woman who holds him frequently.
Me: Sure, thanks.
Though I was a little wary of letting a stranger hold my baby, I threw the rest of my food on to the belt and moved the cart down. I reached for Tornado A who looked at me, not moving towards me. I pulled him out of the woman’s arms.
Me: Thank you.
A woman: (chuckling) I know how it is. I had a baby and a toddler and one in school.
Me: Me too.
A woman: It was nice to hold a baby.
Me: Well, thank you again. He apparently liked you. He doesn’t usually go to other people easily and he usually comes back to me in a heartbeat. So congratulations. He likes you.
A woman: Wonderful.
Sometimes we forget people still are kind to strangers.