I know this week everyone’s preoccupied with Powerball and the State of the Union and the Rams moving to L.A., but I want to pause for a minute and pose this important question: Has anyone else noticed a freaky amount of kindness from strangers lately?
At first I thought it was just me, but then the evidence mounted at an alarming speed. Consider the following —
Event #1: A few weeks ago, I took the boys to the aquarium’s dolphin show. At some point, my cell phone fell out of my back pocket and we walked out of the amphitheater without it. Ten minutes later I realized what had happened, and I drug the poor boys on a frantic mission to see if it was still there (although I was 100% sure it was gone forever). In my rush through the cafeteria, a man stopped me.
“Did you lose your phone?” he asked.
Is this man psychic? Stalking me? How did he even know that’s why I was blindly rushing through a crowded cafeteria, two frazzled toddlers in tow? Because he had my phone, and had seen the pics of the boys on my lock screen, and was hoping to find the phone’s owner by spotting the boys in the picture. And he did NOT demand ransom for my phone – he gave it back gladly, almost as relieved as I was to have it back. Good sir, you restored my faith in humanity.
Event #2: Random family comes over to me at Bob Evans (don’t judge — it was pancakes for dinner night) to tell me how cute and well-behaved the boys are.
Event #3: Target employee sees me with a full cart and antsy boys in the super long line and opens up a new lane just for me!
I realized when I was pregnant that people tended to be nicer – they’d smile at my bump, offer to lift things for me, and all of the other thoughtful things people do for women who are already carrying an obvious load. That spilled over into my time with babies–because who doesn’t love babies? So again, the general populace was generally kinder to me than if I was average gal on the street.
Now that time has passed. I get the occasional extra niceness because I have two adorable kids with me, but that’s usually from a fellow mother who recognizes the struggle in another mom’s bad day. Overall, I have returned to normal gal on the street. Cut me off in traffic, walk past me as I’m picking up dropped and scattered groceries, butt in line ahead of me, don’t-hold-the-door general jerkiness.
But now, people are freaking me out. They ACTIVELY SEARCH FOR A PHONE’S OWNER. They cross a room to say something kind. They see someone having a rough day and reach out to make it a little better. At first I was suspicious. Then I realized that maybe people are nicer than I’ve given them credit for. Could that be true? Could it?
Thank you, strangers, for making my last few weeks a little bit better. I’ll keep paying it forward in the hopes that I can creep someone else out with unsuspected kindness.