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Toronto, Canada

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Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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My Mom Fail and the Kindness of Strangers

Written by Julie Jensen

One writer shares with PLN how she found unexpected kindness amidst one of her worst parenting moments. 

It was the regular grocery shopping trip. Similar to all the times before. I had my five-year-old, two-year-old, and seven-month-old in tow. My trick was to park right beside the grocery carts so that the kids would go straight from the van to the cart.

I was rocking the confidence.  We had made it through both stores and were en route with the last load of groceries towards the van. The baby was done, so I had to hold him.

I’m sure I looked like a wreck darting the cart this way and that way with one hand and a squirmy baby in the other. But I was feeling pretty accomplished. This was my routine trip and we were literally on the home stretch. We got to the van and I opened up the back. Everything got a little hazy after that…

My worst fear

All I remember is looking back to my two-year-old standing on the cart’s seat and falling backward onto the pavement.

I gently tossed my baby into the cart and yelled out my little boy’s name scooping him up swiftly off the ground. With panic and tears in both our eyes, I had two angelic strangers come rushing to my aid.

An older gentleman picked up my baby as another woman looked after my five-year-old old daughter. The man helped me assess my hurt child as the wind finally came back into his lungs. He put my baby in his car seat and made sure I knew where I was going: straight to the doctor to have him looked at.

My little boy’s eyes were starting to roll and I was in a heartbreak of shock. It was a blur, but somehow we were all in, buckled and on our way.

Unexpected kindness

The woman wasn’t with the man, just another bystander who saw what happened. She loaded my groceries and put my cart away. I couldn’t even tell you what she looked like. The man waited for me to back up and drive away before tending to his own errands.

Miraculously, after seeing the doctor, it was indicated that there was no concussion. My son got better and better throughout the day and the next. There wasn’t even a bump to show his fall.

But  I can’t stop thinking about those two strangers.

I take complete blame. It was my fault. My mom fail. I didn’t buckle him into that cart. I usually never use the cart buckle, but I so wish I had used it that day.

On public display

Being a parent in 2018 is hard in its own peculiar way. We have the technological advancements and education to make life so much safer and easier. But, the overwhelm of information and the overabundance of public shaming and scrutiny on our parenting is at an all-time high.

Not only are we under the judgment of those we come across face to face, but our parenting mishaps and stories can be plastered onto the world stage within seconds.

Nobody filmed this incident. There were no pictures. Nobody wrote up a post on social media giving a shopping cart safety lecture and hashtagging my stupidity. There were no cruel comments degrading my parenting. Nothing of the sort. But there were two strangers who showed up, stepped up and saved my quivering heart. They were everything I needed and my kids needed during what could’ve been a most serious tragedy. They quietly ran to our rescue without any request or thought for adoration.

They showed me what the power of kindness can do. And that is the kind of kind I want to return out into the world. We don’t have to know each other to care about each other. And we surely don’t have to find fame for it for it to be appreciated.

I’m sure I said it 10 times during this incident, but just in case I didn’t and this blog post finds those strangers…

Thank you.

Have you ever had an encounter with a stranger that changed your whole day for the better? Let us know in the comments!



*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.