The Kindness Of Strangers


The Kindness Of Strangers

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. People will be celebrating love. Romantic love. Friendly love. Family love. There are so many different types of love and so many degrees of it. There’s the love you can’t live without. The love that breaks your heart. The love that makes the sun rise. Tomorrow is Love’s big day. It’s Love’s Super Bowl. But, today…today is just a normal, everyday day.

I’d like to focus on normal, everyday kindness.

Unlike its cousin Love that has its own holiday, Kindness isn’t nearly as showy. It’s a simple thing, really. When faced with a situation or a moment that requires a choice, you can be indifferent and go about your day. You can be mean but that never helps and, besides, mean people are the worst. Or you can choose to be kind. While I certainly have my moments of indifference and would like to think I have my moments of kindness, recently I made a choice that would connect me and my son to a family we’d never even met all the way on the other side of the country. It was a moment of kindness that became a whole story.

Since the fall of last year, I had been planning our Disney vacation. I must have followed 4,000 Disney pages on social media in preparation. How to Plan Your Trip. How to Save Money. Where to Eat. Where to Stay. What to Buy. What to Pack. How to Skip Lines. How to Stay Sane. Please believe me when I say that there is literally a page for every Disney detail. And I followed them all. For four months, my newsfeed was held hostage by rides and character meals. Some posts I read. Most posts I didn’t. Mostly I just scrolled past.

But, one day, I stopped scrolling and started reading.

It was a post from a panicked mom who was putting out an S.O.S. Her little girl had made a beaded necklace at the Avatar gift shop in Animal Kingdom. Maybe it’s because that’s our favorite area in our favorite park. Maybe it’s because our very first trip to Disney several years ago, my son made the same necklace in the same gift shop. Whatever the reason, it hit home and I kept reading.

This poor mama was rolling around in some epic Mom Guilt like we all do. As it is with your typical End of the Disney Day meltdown, the children were 3000% childrening and the parents were 3% parenting. There was crying and tempers and finally the grown-ups just gave up. The mom and dad took the kids and left the park as it was closing. It wasn’t until they were back at their hotel that they realized there was no necklace. They had left it at the gift shop. And, as you would expect, a little girl was heartbroken. (Insert Mom Guilt here.)

That’s where I came in.

Was anyone going to be at Animal Kingdom in the coming week? Did anyone know what necklace she was even talking about? Would anyone please check at the gift shop because it wasn’t at Lost and Found? In my head, I answered “yes” to all of her questions. So, I messaged her. Yes, we’d be there in a few days. Yes, I knew the exact necklace she meant. And, yes, I’d be happy to help.

In the end, it became the most unexpected story of a generous, new friendship. My son and I made and bought a necklace for the little girl, Eloise, and mailed it to her in California. It was our gift to her because as I told her mom, Kristen, these kids need to believe that kindness and goodness exist in this world. Kristen, in turn, asked if she could please send me money so that my son could pick out something special for himself. It was just the most magical moment of happy little hearts on either side of the United States and happy Mamas who chose kindness in the moment.

Tomorrow is all about love. But, I’d like to think that every day could be about love, if you let it. Just like every day could be about kindness. No matter how small. Because those small moments can grow into big, lovely things.

Like moms rescuing other moms. New friendships. Lessons in goodness. And, the kindness of strangers.


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