Thursday, October 1, 2015
"You're doing a great job".
The bus came to a screeching halt along a very busy road in the middle of rush hour; we had almost blown right by the person who had been waiting there, needing a ride. The brakes slammed; all of us who were standing did that awkward thing where we kind of swung forward, trying to balance ourselves while also making sure our bags weren't hitting anyone who was sitting.
The person at the bus stop hurried along to get on; it was a young mom. I mean, young. Maybe 16 or 17. She got on with a diaper bag on her shoulder, a large folded up stroller in one hand, and a baby in a car seat in the other hand. She had her money all ready to go, I could see it there in her hand....but the car seat was so bulky it was preventing her from getting her hand close enough to the box to put the money in. The stroller was taking up all of the room in front of her, so there was nowhere to set the carseat down to free up her hand.
I was back toward the middle of the bus, standing, a line of people in front of me, the bus was jam packed....watching the scene unfold, and hoping in my head that the bus driver would take the cash for her, or offer to help...something. Instead, the driver looked visibly annoyed.
Just when I thought she was going to burst into tears, and I started trying to figure out how many people I would have to elbow through to get up front, someone in the front got out of their seat. A kind woman left her stuff in her seat, worked her way to the front of the bus and put the money in for her. The young girl had relief written all over her face as she shifted her arms to try and figure out where to go. Thankfully, a man stood up and motioned to her that she could have his seat. A different woman offered to get her stroller.
The young girl sat down with her tiny baby in the carseat and was looking up at the ceiling of the bus, blinking. I recognized that move...we've all been there, right? The times we look up, willing ourselves to not cry, to not let the tears come because you know once they do they're hard to stop.
As she was looking up, the woman who first got up to help her with the money (who was now sitting beside her), patted her on the leg and said "You're doing a great job".
5 words. That's it.
But those 5 words with the simple gesture of a pat on the leg and a loving look toward the tiny baby caused a huge smile to come over this girl's face. Just like that. Her body language transformed, and while I couldn't hear the rest of the conversation, I could tell she was speaking to the woman who'd shown her kindness for the rest of the bus trip.
I could feel for this girl....young or not, we've all been there. Maybe not on the bus...maybe in line at Target, with a kid who has asked 542 times for a candy bar in line, as you're fishing around in your purse for your wallet, feeling yourself grow more and more flustered as the cashier stands there, waiting for you. Maybe at daycare drop off, when it's you who has the crying kid, the one who is scared to go in, clinging to your legs or even worse, trying to bolt out the door while screaming his head off.
The whole experience on the bus was maybe 3 minutes total, but it really made me think about how I should be more intentional in my interactions with people. So often, I see others in those situations and sure, I have sympathy for them in my head or think to myself, "Oh, yes...I've been there before!" but rarely do I say anything.
You're doing a great job.
I need to start saying it.
To the mom with the crying kid....to the dad struggling at daycare drop off....to the cashier who is still trying to learn her job and can't get the scanner to work.....to Jake when he's trying to read but getting frustrated because he doesn't know all of the words....to Liam when he's trying to build with Legos but can't quite get them to do what he wants them to.
You're doing a great job.