Life as a new mom is full of surprises. One of the best surprises has been the kindness shown to me by strangers. Whether my son is smiling or fussing, people often seem to act with kindness when we’re out and about. At the grocery store, strangers entertain my son while I’m checking out. They offer to put up my cart so that I can focus on loading my son into the car. At the airport, strangers carry my son’s car seat on and off of planes, help load and unload my belongings as I move through security, and play peek a boo in the middle of flights when my son is upset. Someone even stood with me for twenty minutes as I worked with a flight crew to find a stroller that went missing before a long layover. These acts of kindness bring such joy to my days.
I asked my friends to share similar experiences. Find their stories below:
“As a new, worn out mother buying newborn diapers at Target late one night, I probably looked like a hot mess. The woman behind me handed me a $20 bill. She said, “For your diapers. It’s been so long since I’ve bought them.” Her empathy, and my raging hormones, made me gush with tears and thankfulness. I felt ‘known’ during a very fragile time.” —Rebecca M.
“I was in a Target recently, and my son decided he wanted to sit in the middle of the aisle and didn’t want to move. Then another mom with infant twins walked up and said, ‘Oh man, I have something to look forward to.’ She smiled, and we laughed. When my son decided he was done, we walked to the next aisle, and a woman’s toddler was throwing a super tantrum. The mom was standing her ground. I smiled at her and said, ‘Fight the good fight.’ We smiled and laughed. Motherhood is a powerful bond.”
“I had three kids in three years, so whenever I go to Costco, I get all kinds of comments. Most range from ‘You’ve got your hands full!’ to ‘Are all those kids yours?’ But inevitably, there’s always an older person that comes up to me and whispers encouragement into my ear. They remind me that the hard years are so worth it and that kids are a gift. I’m always so appreciative for that kind soul that offers me a dose of encouragement.”
“I forgot something in my buggy at the grocery store once and was going to circle back around to wait in line and pay for it. I had my daughter with me, and she was maybe around one. The lady behind me paid for it right on the spot. It made me cry!”
“My stories always come from Aldi for some reason. From people who give me a quarter and take my cart back up the building for me (one lady took hers and mine at the same time), to one who recently unloaded all my groceries for me so I could hold my wailing toddler while I checked out—all these small acts of kindness go a very long way.”
“I was at the Produce Place with my son about a month ago, and we were picking up some sandwiches to take home. When we got to check out, I realized I had left my wallet in my other purse at home. The lady behind me told the cashier, ‘Just put them on my tab,’ and paid for them. Also, where I used to live in Spring Hill, there is a little old man who makes homemade cards that say, ‘You are loved.’ He goes to Kroger and picks random people to give them to. I was one of those people a month or two after I separated from my ex. I broke down crying. My friend, who is a pharmacist there, told me he does that once or twice a week, and he prays that God will show him people who need the message.”
“People have let me in front of them in line at the grocery store. When at the dentist, workers took my son out of his car seat when he cried and held/rocked him until I was finished. I was trying to rock him in it while I was laying back getting my teeth cleaned. Ha!”
“I had to take my son with me when my dog had an ear infection. He had not napped and was being really fussy. The vet tech let me pay from the exam room. (She took my card up front and then brought it back to me.) Then she took my dog out to the car while I took my son—as it had just started raining as well. They were very understanding and helpful.”
“Several clients at work have periodically asked me what size my daughter is and show up later that day or the next with clothes and diapers for her. I also have a client that surprises me with diaper coupons every time she sees them!”
“I was flying Southwest (no assigned seats) alone with my baby, and a woman who had an earlier boarding pass saved us a seat in the front of the plane.”
“I’ve flown by myself with my daughter so many times, I’ve lost count. I’ve had flight attendants save me whole rows so I can relax with my daughter and even take on her car seat to make it easier. It’s happened a few times. Amaaaaazing thoughtfulness.”
“Once, I was returning a rental car at the Cleveland airport when my daughter was 11 months old. I was traveling alone. When I pulled up to Hertz, the man looked inside the car and said, ‘Oh I’m not making you unload and take the shuttle.’ (The rental place was offsite.) He told his manager he would be right back and drove us directly to the terminal so I could unload right in front of check in. And when I first picked up the rental car, I couldn’t figure out how to install the car seat. The employees are not supposed to help, but I was almost crying, so a man working there had mercy on me and helped. To this day, I really love Hertz.”
“My husband was sick, and in an act of desperation, I took the kids to brunch alone. I couldn’t find parking, so—after checking that I had cash—I resorted to valet parking. When I picked up the car and handed the valet the tip, he looked at it and said, ‘Ummmm. That’s only half the fee.’ I’d never used a valet that actually charged before! I was MORTIFIED. The woman who had just pulled up behind us said, ‘Oh! No worries. I’ve got her covered.’ I was in tears.”