This entry is really supposed to be about the kindness of strangers. Hence the title, right?
Well, I have to preface it with what happened last night.
Toby walked around a store for over an hour with no breaks!!!
Nate had Upward Basketball practice and so I was left with three kids and Christmas shopping to finish up. I've been really wanting them to pick things out for each other this year so they can be focused more on the giving than the receiving. Well, we went out and I brought the sit and stand stroller and Toby's walker. I was feeling pretty stinkin' daring if you ask me! So of course in the process of going into the store, the walker slides down the bar that I have it hooked on and smashes right into Toby's wrist. He cries and I'm feeling quite bad about it. Well, I decide at that point I might as well say goodbye to him walking because his wrist was already looking rough. We got in the store, and I started walking and Toby yelled out, "Hey, you forgot about me walking?" So I got him out and helped him into his walker. He was getting frustrated about his speed, or lack thereof, when this lady walked up to him. He was totally in her way. Instead of scooting pass him or doing the opposite-getting up in his face and patting him, she just smiled and said, "Hey big man, how's it going?" For some reason this stranger totally helped Toby get out of his funk. He told her about his boo boo and told her about how he cried and how he can walk now. She just stood there and listened like she had all the time in the day. Pretty awesome around the Christmas season. Okay that was stranger 1. So after walking around for an hour, dropping things, Toby has fallen twice at this point, and Milo has gotten pretty fussy. I decided it was well past time to go. So we headed to the front of the store to pay for our items. As I was making my way to the door, this guy comes out of nowhere practically running to get to the door before me. (Now, some people will hold the door for me, but then you can see the look on their face when they realize how long it's going to be before Toby actually makes his way all the way through.) Seriously, this guy must have just been waiting for me to leave, because he just stood there smiling like it was no big thing. Then his wife came out and asked where I was parked so they could help me to the car. This makes stranger number 2 and 3. I told them that I was okay, but thank you anyway. Then of course, Toby, who has already accomplished incredible things that night decided he wanted to step off the curb for the first time. Stranger number 4 came flying out the door of the store and said, "Hold on, I'll move my car. That will make more room and be easier." (He was parked next to us.) So he threw his stuff in his car, waved at Toby and backed out quickly just so Toby could step off the curb safely. Then, back to strangers number 2 and 3. They proceed to stand there and wait for me to get safely in the car with all my kids, the walker, stroller and of course all of our goodies. They waved and left.
These people were just strangers. People that I will probably never see again. But wow, how they changed my night. I have noticed in the past week, (the closer it gets to Christmas) that people in general have been much less willing to wait patiently as we cross the street or move out of Toby's way as he tries to see a toy on a certain aisle. People have been consumed with their lives, their schedules and their happy holidays. It has made going out with Toby, Gracie and Milo a little harder this year. However, last night was different. Those four strangers would have done a backflip if I had said it would have made our lives easier. They went above and beyond any general kindness. I am so thankful for those people. Thankful for the people who forget about themselves and just plain pay attention to the needs of others.
So here's my small challenge from this post. (myself included) Pay attention to the needs of others as you are out and about. It's so easy to be caught up in the good we are doing for church members, family and friends that we can forget about the person on the same aisle as us in the store.