I don’t know about you, but when my kids were little I dreaded grocery shopping with my kids in tow. My second child and only girl, Sophie, was a terror and hated shopping. She would legit start screaming her head off every time we pulled into the parking lot of a Kroger, CVS, Walmart, or store of any kind. Yet, week after week I had to suck it up and do it. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers, because her life was saved multiple times by strangers warning me that she was about to fall out of the cart while I was distracted by paying for or looking at items. Girlfriend was REAL GOOD at getting out of that cart seatbelt!! Ugh. I was usually sweating like a horse by the time we made it back out to the car with our groceries.
All that to say, I cannot IMAGINE doing that with twins, like mom Landra January does on a regular basis. She says in a post on her Facebook page from last week that because she has cute toddler twins, she plans “for an additional 20 minutes just for answering questions about twins,” when she takes her kiddos to Walmart. But the post goes on to say that though she usually considers inquiries about her sons to be “tedious,” she had an experience at Walmart last week while doing her usual shopping that changed her mind on that forever…and it’s a story I’ll never forget. Here’s what Landra says about what happened.
“I took the twins to WalMart today for our weekly grocery shopping. An older woman approached me in the cereal aisle, and I instantly sighed in annoyance because I knew the “typical twin questions” were about to start pouring out of her mouth. When I go out in public, I always plan for an additional 20 minutes just for answering questions about twins, and frankly it’s become tedious. She neared my cart and stopped. “Here we go again” I thought. She asked all the typical things, told me how sweet they were, and continued to babble on with the boys. I was antsy, and just ready to go. I turned to look down the aisle hoping she would take the hint that I was ready to leave, and as I did she put her hand on top of mine that was resting on the cart. ‘I know you probably hate this and I’m sorry to take up so much of your time. You see, I lost my only grandchild last year, and about the only time I see kids his age is when I do my grocery shopping’ she said.”
Um. WHOA. Suddenly Landra says her tight grocery shopping scheduled no longer seemed important, and she made a decision that would make both her and this stranger’s day. “Suddenly,” she writes, “time didn’t matter.”
She continues her Facebook post to say what happened next:
“‘Well we are about to go look at the fish, you wanna follow us over there and watch them play for a bit?’ Her eyes lit up; ‘I would love that.’ We went over and I got the boys out. She spent about 15 minutes watching them bounce around and scream out ‘FISHY FISHY FISHY’ when finally she looked over to me and said ‘you dont know what I would give to be able to hear my grandson laugh one last time.’ I couldn’t find any words, so I stood in silence grieving for her. ‘May I hug your boys?’ I nodded. ‘Thank you so much for giving me your time, I know your hands are full’ she said. ‘No really, it was my pleasure.’ She bent down to hug Darrio, my not as friendly twin, and he reached his arms out and said ‘LUH YOU!!’ She hugged Dheigo and then hugged me, and said ‘I love all 3 of you too’ and headed toward the check out.”
Landra was humbled by the experience and wants to encourage parents to take the time to show their kids how important it is to spread kindness and take time for others, even a total stranger at Walmart. She continues:
“Do you know what my point is? My point is how quickly my attitude changed once I connected with her as another human being with feelings.
That woman taking too long in the drop off line in the morning? What if her child has to go to his dads for the weekend and she wont get another hug for 3 long days.
The man driving slow when your in a rush to work? What if hes going slow because he knows he is going to be laid off and is worried about his future.
That annoying little kid down the road who always bangs on your door? What if he doesnt get attention at home and just wants a friend.
It made me wonder; how much nicer would we all be if we knew one anothers struggles?
Raise damn good humans.”
Since I am always pressed for time when I’m out running errands (even though my kids are no longer little), Landra’s post really stuck with me. I know I would be much nicer, patient, and in-tune when I am out and about if I knew what others around me were struggling with; the challenge is to ACT like I know even when I don’t. The challenge is to be intentional with kindness and patience to those I come into contact with each day.
I’m not the only one Landra’s words are resonating with; since October 17th, her post has been shared over 60,000 times on Facebook! Thank you, Landra, for your actions at Walmart, and for sharing your challenge with all of us!
How will YOU be raising good humans today?