If you want your faith in humanity to be restored, have a baby. It feels as though not a day has gone by since having my beautiful baby girl that someone hasn’t lent me a hand, or offered up a kind gesture. When I go grocery shopping with her, people urge me to go in front of them in checkout lines. They open freezer doors and store doors. I even had a woman insist on carrying a bulk pack of toilet paper from my car to my apartment door once, because she said it looked like I could use a hand. She was right; when you have a baby, you need about five more hands than the ones you have. She was my toilet-paper-carrying angel.
The most recent acts of kindness I’ve encountered came during my trip to the DMV office. After I had parked outside of what I hoped to be the right building, I decided to go ahead and assemble my traveling system. I don’t use it often, but my baby had fallen asleep on the ride over and I didn’t want to wake her. As soon as I assembled the stroller, however, an old man walking by told me that if I drove around to the other side of the building I could avoid the stairs and use a ramp instead. I weighed out the pros and cons, and decided to heed his notion. I folded down the stroller, packed it back up into the trunk, and drove to the other side. After the traveling system was reassembled, I looked around, and to my disappointment, only saw more stairs.
I helplessly strolled around in circles for a bit, until finally giving up on the aforementioned ramp. This is when my stubborn nature kicked in, and I decided just to tackle the stairs. How difficult could it be? The first set was small and we made it up just fine. However I nearly broke the stroller on the second set of stairs when I tried picking it up by its tray. This is when another passerby sensed my distress and asked the obvious and probably rhetorical question: “Do you need some help”. By this point I was beyond trying to save face, and emphatically exclaimed “yes!”.
As he helped me maneuver the stroller up the stairs, he compassionately empathized, telling me that he had three kids, and he “knew”. The kind gentleman helped me up the daunting set of stairs that led to the main door, and I was ecstatic to be home free. Little did I know there was one more set of stairs waiting for us inside the building. The icing on the cake was that as soon as we had tackled the last step, my baby woke up, rendering all stroller efforts futile. By the end of this endeavor I was holding her in one arm, juggling the logistics with the other, and staring at an empty stroller.
On my way out I was fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one more act of kindness. The security guard, upon seeing the (empty) stroller, granted me special access to the elevator. He told me to take it down to the first level, which is where the elusive ramp had been all along!
If there’s one thing you can plan on as a parent of a little one, it’s that nothing ever goes as planned. But it’s okay, because it’s all about having a recovery. Overall, this outing was stressful and less than ideal. But I can’t help but to smile when reflecting on the experience, because it’s the goodness that shined through those bystanders that permeates the story. Their acts of kindness is what helped get me through, and is what gives me the willingness to brave subsequent outings. I can’t wait to be that person for someone else, once I get my own hands back.