Full Of Helpful

, , | Marion, OH, USA | Hopeless | December 25, 2016

(I have a birth defect called Phocomelia; my arms are short and I don’t have hands, but I get by decently well. To avoid an extra stress I tend to go to the store late at night or early morning. I go late, as with four shopping days left until Christmas I know I can’t handle the extra large crowds that were made up of people who love to stare. I have gotten good at ignoring those around me unless they are in my way and in line of sight. I was putting my items on the belt and was in my own world. I hear a man and kids talking, but don’t think anything of it, until the two little girls come up to me.)

Older Girl: “Can I help?” *I am thrown off by the question, because it’s usually an adult that asks*

Me: “Sure, thank you!” *the older girl grabs the last of the items in the cart*

Younger Girl: “I didn’t get to help.”

Me: “It’s the thought that counts.” *I feel a little bad; she truly does want to help*

Their Father: “You can help her put the bags in the cart.”

(The father and girls talk, joke, and laugh while I wait to pay for my items. It’s a nice change to hear a parent interacting with the kids and keeping everything light and happy, as all the other parents I see in the store this night ignore or yell at their kids. When my items are being bagged the father tells them to help. I get one bag, the older girl gets another and then helps her little sister with the last bag.)

Me: “Thank you, girls!” *and then I thank the father*

(The father helped renew some of my faith in the future generations. Not only did the girls happily help, but they didn’t stare. They looked a little, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from younger kids. To the father: Thank you so much! I’m used to doing things on my own, but to be offered help when I’m obviously tired and struggling means so much to me, especially after waiting to see if I had things handled or was struggling. And the fact that you are raising your girls to be respectful to others is heartwarming.)

On A Mission For Parking

, , | Las Vegas, NV, USA | Hopeless | December 15, 2016

My wife and I are visiting Las Vegas for the weekend. It’s Sunday morning and we are trying to go to Mass, but are unable to drive very far downtown because of a marathon race being run on the Strip and other streets. What would normally be a 10- or 15-minute drive became an hour and a half. I’m having considerable trouble finding a place to park and both of us are in a grumpy, not-very-Christian mood.

The homily is given by a visiting missionary priest. He talks about how in Central America his order was trying to get more children in their schools so they might have a chance at getting out of poverty. They’d even feed the kids twice a day.

This was news to the poor villager parents who would put their kids to work for twelve hours a day, as soon as they were 8 years old, picking through garbage dumps for anything recyclable so they could make a couple dollars. The priest mentions, one boy who found something that still looked edible… and had to fight off vultures for it.

We looked at each other in amazement. We’re getting stressed about Las Vegas traffic, while elsewhere, eight-year-old kids are picking through garbage. What a reality check! We decided to give rather generously to the collection for the priest’s mission.

Sculpting Young Minds

, | | Hopeless | December 13, 2016

I am working in the museum’s visitor’s center, which is mainly a place for visitors to get some background information about the museum and to use the bathroom.

A mother and her young daughter come in and my coworker starts telling the mother the museum’s history, which her daughter is unsurprisingly not at all interested in. I go over and start talking to the daughter, showing her where we are on the map and the “guess the texture” station. We then go into the next room where there are some (quite frankly, bizarre) sculptures by a local artist. I explain what they are as best I can and agree with the little girl that one of them looked like a chocolate cake.

When the mother is finally free from my coworker, she comes to collect her daughter who then gives me a hug. I saw them later as they were leaving the museum and the little girl gave me some “art,” which was mostly a couple pieces of paper glued together in a zig-zag shape. I’m glad that I was able to make the little girl feel welcome, and I still have the artwork!

Palabra Is The Word

, | OK, USA | Hopeless | December 11, 2016

(My daughter has special needs. She is an adult but is quite small and not very vocal. She will say hello, usually over and over after someone responds. Most of her sentences are one word long. I was shopping for a coat when a little boy in a cart behind me piped up.)

Boy: “Hola!”

Daughter: “Hola!”

Boy: “Hola!”

Daughter: “Hola!”

Me: *to the boy* “Hola, chico.” *to my daughter* “Okay, you’ve said hello, honey. You don’t have to keep saying it.”

Daughter: “Como estas lindo?” *how are you, cute? – guessing that’s as close as she could come to “cutie”*

Me: *silent in shock*

(The two chatted for a few minutes as I just stared.)

Daughter: *to Boy* “Bye, niño.”  *walks up to me* “Spanish.” *except she can’t make the sp sound so what she said was ‘Panish*

(I speak English, German, and ASL with her. Not really sure how she even learned Spanish.)

Giving Me A Lump In My Throat

, , | Woodgate, NY, USA | Hopeless | November 12, 2016

(I have just gotten back from sleepaway camp in upstate New York. Nearing the final days, I started feeling very sick, which turns out to be an infection in my throat. It gets to the point where I moan in pain every time I swallow. After leaving the camp, my family decides to stop at a restaurant to eat. I feel horrible in the restaurant and it is easy to see. I am lying in my mother’s lap, with two sweatshirts on. This interaction happens when we are paying our check.)

Mom: “Can we get this iced tea in a to-go cup? My son wants to save it for later since his throat is hurting.”

Waitress: “Sure. What’s wrong with him?”

Mom: “His throat is bothering him and we want to get him back to our hotel to get him some aspirin.”

Waitress: “Okay. I’ll be right back.”

(When the waitress came back, she not only came back with a very large cup with the tea, she also bring some of her own aspirin. Waitress, if you’re reading this, thank you. You made my night much less painful for me.)

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