That's My Car

After the morning school run a few weeks ago, I stopped by the grocery store with my toddler to stock up on his favorite snacks for the week. We bought fresh strawberries, apples, yogurt, and whatever colorful healthy foods caught his big brown eyes. After we checked out, and I denied him all the bright fun candies at the register we gathered our bags and walked out to the parking lot. He would be easier to manage in a cart, but he loves the independence of walking on his own next to me so I quickly and carefully guide the way. 

As we approached my car I could see that someone had rolled their cart directly behind my car and propped the cart against my trunk which I already needed to somehow open with my pinky and the power of my mind since my hands were full of bags, and I was focused on the loose two-year-old. I was incensed that someone could be so inconsiderate and lazy. Didn’t they see the carseats in my car? Didn’t they see how I’d strategically parked directly next to a cart return skipping the five closer empty spots in case I needed to come out of the store with a cart? Another few feet, and they could have properly put it away. Doesn’t anyone care about others anymore? 

Not even a week later I was leaving Target, and as I walked from the store I saw a young woman clearly younger than I, in good health, park a cart behind the first car in the row, and begin walking off to her car. I tried to make eye contact with her, but settled for shaking my head in disgust. I stomped my way to the cart return with my cart debating whether I should have called out to the girl - chastising her for her rudeness. Deciding that the least I should do was put the other cart away myself I turned around, and there she was parking another cart behind the first car! I put my hands on the cart, debating what I should say hoping to sound indignant but polite. I decided someone ought to teach her a lesson. 

I worked out saying “this is my car you’ve so lazily parked your cart on. Please show me and yourself the respect of returning the cart to its proper place.” Before I could open my mouth, she called out (in tears) “thank you so much for holding the cart for me!” Then she opened the door and lugged an infant carrier from the backseat of her SUV. There was a tiny, obviously preemie, baby in the infant carrier. She gently put the baby girl in the cart, and asked me if I would mind terribly holding the cart while she went back to the car quickly. She walked over, and pulled out another infant carrier. Setting the carrier on the ground, she stretched up on her toes and pulled a third carrier from the vehicle. Struggling she dragged both carriers over, and proudly with exhaustion in her voice proclaimed “I did it. This is the first time I’ve left the house since having the triplets.” 

I stood there with my mouth shut (for once) unable to think of anything to say. So I offered to push one of the carts around the store with her while she shopped. She graciously accepted my help in getting through the parking lot, but said she really wanted to prove to herself she could do this on her own. So I walked back to my car head low, wondering how and when I had become the inconsiderate jerk. At that moment I resolved to show kindness to others not just by returning their carts, but by remembering we all have moments we need the help of those around us.


Susie said...

Your story is very inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

Sandie said...

We could all do with showing more kindness. I am SO glad you hadn't got to open your mouth before she spoke :)