Young man helping senior woman

Single Mom Slice of Life:

Watching Your Kids Help Others,
It’s A Great Feeling!


I am a woman who hates shopping, dislikes make-up, and has never had a particular taste for chocolate. So, it takes a lot to get me to do/eat/wear any of those things. But, when your kid looks up at you and asks to go to a second-hand store because he needs something “unique”, the love for that kid overrides all else.

So there I stood, using every ounce of willpower not to beg to be allowed to sit in the car despite the 110º Arizona heat while Nick and Justin abandoned me in search of – whatever it was they were searching for. So, I picked a quiet aisle to stand in while they shopped. After a few moments, I realized that I was absently eavesdropping on the conversation before me.

There was an older couple an aisle over, where the husband stood calmly listening while his wife berated a plastic bin full of eyeglasses. It would seem that she had removed her own glasses in order to try another pair on and somehow misplaced her original pair. A store clerk already at their side, taking in stride the woman’s description, conspiracy theories, and demands to shut the store down until her glasses were found. Again, her husband stood stoically at her side, holding her purse, as he pinched the bridge of his nose.

The clerk, after promising to do what he could, promptly escaped the madness. Every time a person pushed their cart anywhere near the vicinity of the scene of the crime, they were stopped by the woman, interrogated, and asked to keep an eye out for her missing glasses. It was a fairly steady stream of people, all who promised to let her know if they found her glasses.

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I took a deep breath, and moved forward. Before I reached her however, two other people had approached. They didn’t just nod politely as they walked by, make promises to keep an eye out, or ignore the situation all together. Instead, these two people – my two kids – actually put their items down, asked what exactly her glasses looked like, and promptly began actively looking for them.

I watched, in shock, awe, and pride as they worked together as a team . . . which if you’ve ever read my columns before, you know is a rare thing for them. One emptied the eyeglass bucket as the other began sifting through the glasses pair by pair to make sure she hadn’t just dug past it. My taller boy checked on shelves above her head (just in case), while the shorter one bent and looked under the shelves. Every bucket, bin, basket and barrel was searched. Nick went and asked the register to make an announcement while Justin asked if there was anyone they could call to help.

They nodded sincerely as they entertained the theory that someone had seen her wearing them then stolen them for themselves. No one snickered or smiled when she thought that maybe a thief had followed her and waited for her to put them down. Neither one scoffed at the idea that maybe a clerk was holding them so they could stick a price on them, sell them, and keep the money for themselves.

As I watched, I noticed something about the side of her basket. Moving forward, I smiled, introduced myself and my children, then pointed to the glasses that hung from the edge of the basket by the earpiece. She clutched at her heart, began telling her husband he had been wrong in thinking they had been stolen, and to the boys sent blessings, offered them money, declared them good young men, and thanked them heartily for their help.

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To me, she hugged, not so quietly whispered, “your sons are amazing young and kind gentlemen even though their mother wears dresses that show her brassiere straps.”

Can you feel it? That warm fuzzy feeling . . .

Well, I hadn’t done it for thanks. In fact, the biggest thanks I had was in a weird way actually the woman’s unfortunate (and temporary) scare. It was a rare glimpse at my children from afar. I learned what was at the core of my kids, that they are in fact kind, giving members of society. Of course, I also learned that my summer dress has strap issues. Win some, lose some.

What about you? Have you had the opportunity to watch people unseen? Were you surprised by what you saw, and was the surprise a good one, or bad?