I’m about to share one of my not-so-great parenting moments. I’m pretty sure I’m at fault, but I refuse to ask the experts because I’m afraid of the verbal lashing I’ll get. Luckily, the kindness and common sense of a stranger kept my kids from any real danger.
Last January, I decided to be a brave mom and I took my three kids to Walt Disney World in Florida. By myself. Now, honestly, my kids are 12, 10 and 5, so I figured as long as I kept an eye on the littlest one, we’d all be OK.
That was my mindset as the big kids were begging to go on big kid rides while the little one was refusing to do anything more adventurous than ride the boat around “It’s a Small World.”
I told the two older kids to hit one quick ride and then meet me in this exact spot. Ben and I would stand there and wait for them. And wait we did. What was taking them so long?
About 45 minutes later, my cellphone rang. I fumbled for it, but it ended up going to voicemail. No worries, it was a number I didn’t recognize anyway.
Five minutes later, my phone rang again. This time, I said “Hello” and heard the familiar, but frightened voice of my daughter, Jordan. “Mom? Charlie and I couldn’t find you at the meeting spot so we went into a store and the lady working here let me use her cellphone, and then she said we should stay in the store until you could come get us. So, we’re at the Trading Post. Are you mad?”
I hung up, grabbed Ben and ran. They were safe at that point, so I don’t know what the hurry was, but I suddenly had an overwhelming need to wrap my arms around my babies and assure them I hadn’t abandoned them. Thank goodness for a fast-thinking Disney employee and a daughter who knew where to go to ask for help.
North Dakota resident Judy Legge has also experienced a worker coming to the rescue with a cellphone. Although she didn’t lose her children, she was certainly feeling the pinch of panic.
“On my way to a meeting, I stopped at Sam’s Club in Fargo. In a hurry, I accidentally locked my keys in my vehicle. ‘No problem,’ I thought, ‘I’ll just call AAA.’ Well, there was a problem. I’d locked my phone in my vehicle, too.
“Not knowing what to do next, I ran inside and asked the greeter if there was a phone somewhere. She offered me her personal cellphone so I could call right there at the door. The AAA guy said he’d be there in about 30 minutes. He said he’d call when he got close.
“I hung up and realized I hadn’t called from my phone—mine was still in the car! The Sam’s Club greeter told me to shop for the items I needed while she waited for the call.
“I still think of that kind woman, who refused to take any payment for her good deed. Thanks to her, I ended up making it to my meeting on time. In her honor, I try to ‘pass it on’ whenever I can.”
Boy, do I understand that feeling of gratitude and “passing it on” in response to someone’s kindness. When I got to the Trading Post at Disney, it was all I could do not to hug the woman who had helped my children. She kindly kept an eye on my kids and perhaps with even more kindness, bit her tongue instead of reminding me not to let my offspring run around Disney World alone.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.