Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Unexpected Kindness

Two weeks ago, I finished work at 2pm, jumped in the car, raced back to my Valley, got to daycare by 3pm, left daycare at 3.20pm (her carer and I chat way too much) and went to Woolworths. I know. Bad time of day. There was no food in the house. What to do?

I was looking a little like this size-wise, but not fresh and glowing. More tired, full of flu, with several bits
of hair stuck to my face.
To her credit, M was VERY tolerant of being strapped into the trolley as we went around to do the food shopping. I haven't embraced online food shopping just yet, as the delivery fee is around $13, and the supermarket is 2km from home. I just can't bring myself to do it yet. When Baby #2 comes along, I will be prepaying weeks in advance, I'm sure.

An elderly gentleman smiled kindly at us every aisle as we passed our trolleys and I was grateful to have someone to smile at. Millie demanded my shopping list, so I tore my list off and gave her the blank notepad and a pen. I found another pen in my handbag, but it wouldn't work, so I was marking off my list by punching holes in the paper. Then feeding M another biscuit. And a drink. Taking the drink back. Another biscuit. No, it's my list, you've got yours.

Look Millie, the trolley is a car! Brrrrmmmmmm! Brrrrrrm Brrrrm!

Yes, I'm that parent.

By the second last aisle she was antsy and very sick of being confined to a trolley. My little lady likes her freedom. She grabbed a packet of cheese slices out of the trolley and proceeded to chew on the wrapping, holding it out to me. You want to eat cheese around the supermarket? Sure thing.

Yes, I'm that parent. At least it's not chocolate.

We make it through the checkout where Millie demands OUT of the trolley. Like, NOW. So I have a full trolley, a purse in one hand that's being rifled through by a toddler, a toddler in my other arm and a bump the size of Texas whose ligaments have pulled beyond belief in the past ten minutes.

To the butcher. Which is thankfully on the way out of the shopping centre.

I still have M in one arm and a full trolley and the bump. The elderly gentleman passes me again and gives me a knowing, warm smile, which gladdens my heart. He's been here before.

At the butcher, the assistant and I are on 'Hello' terms. She is German and her manner is very formal, but we have a smile and joke about the weather. She packs up our meat and I fumble with my purse, toddler and trolley, dropping my purse underneath the trolley. I decide to pick it up before I leave, but the elderly gentleman sees this, stops his trolley in the doors to the shopping centre, limps over, grabs onto my trolley, gets on his hands and knees and retrieves it for me, before I realise what's even happened.

'Sir! Oh my! Thank you! Please don't, I can get it in a minute! Oh thank you so much!'

He gives me another knowing warm grin and continues on his way.

You're both far too kind!

The shop assistant comes running around from behind the counter, grabs my trolley, asks me where my car is and insists on taking the trolley to the car for me. She tells me that she had three kids under 6, and remembers how hard it can be wrangling all of the things at once. She lights up with recognition of early parenting days and I almost cry from sheer gratefulness.

At the car I thank her and go to strap Millie in so I can put the groceries in the boot. As I say I'm doing this I turn around and she's organising the groceries in my boot, telling me to remember that she popped my purse in with the bread, and my handbag is to the right. She takes the trolley and wishes me a good day. I could have kissed her.

She understands. And I would have done exactly the same thing for another stranger, but it's hard to accept that people will do these things for me. I don't know why, but it is. I'm so grateful for her, and her business has won my custom for all time.

But it's not about business. It's about a stranger, helping another stranger, because they can.

Linking up with Kate for Thankful Thursdays with Kate Says Stuff.

(and incidentally, I just finished a hot cup of tea BY MYSELF. No one else in the house is awake yet. Oh, glory day!)

Kate Says Stuff


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