Kindness of Strangers

I walked to my car, keys in hand, my vision blurring with the moisture of tears. A woman had come up behind us in the checkout line and bumped the counter, causing her soup to slosh and spill a dollop. Busy with my order, the clerk didn't notice. So I offered to hand her the rag on the counter before me. She appreciated the gesture, thanked me, wiped her hand and then noticed my daughter standing beside me smiling widely at her. "Hi!" she said to Grace and returned her smile and held it. "Are you having a good day?" "Yes," Grace replied. The woman continued the banter a moment more.

It's most everyday that those who see my daughter recognize she's "different." Truth is she's pretty and has an infectious smile. It doesn't always catch though. Some people stare at her oddity. Some seem fearful. Others, smile back and then give me a wink or a knowing look.

After some analysis of those surprise tears that never spilled, I realized why they came on so quickly. It was how the woman took the time to stop. To acknowledge the humanity behind the tall, child-like, young woman beside me.

That. Felt. Good. Thank you, Stranger, for your kindness. I needed that. We needed that.

Grace? She'll go on being happy. She's natured that way. Blessedly. Me? I'm not blissfully ignorant of all the ways the world perceives my daughter. A dousing of kindness? That's appreciated on any given day.

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