We went to Michigan last weekend. I saw some old friends I hadn’t seen in over 18 years at a mini high school reunion. We spent time with family. We went shopping. We encountered the kindness of a stranger. Extreme kindness.
After loading up the car in the Target parking lot, I walked over to put the cart away as Ali got Sebastian into his car seat. I noticed a mom with her two daughters headed towards their vehicle. One of the daughters was in an electric wheelchair. I was watching to see which vehicle was theirs and how they would maneuver getting in. We are currently vehicle shopping and so I’m pretty interested in other people’s cars these days. She looked up at me as I watched. I headed back to the car and she kept looking at me. I was about to get into the car when I stopped. She was down the aisle a bit across from us and I decided to walk over and tell her about Sebastian. I did not want her to think I was staring at her daughter because she was in a wheelchair.
As I approached her I nearly shouted ‘My son has cerebral palsy’ and she said smiling, ‘I was praying to God you would come talk to me.’ I wanted to hug her and cry at the same time. I’m pretty sure she felt the same way. Apparently she had seen us in the store with Seb. We were taking turns carrying him and pushing the cart. We had only planned to stop in quickly as he was really tired from a busy day so we didn’t bring the stroller in. We almost didn’t stop. She introduced me to her daughters and showed me her awesome mini-van that had been converted with an electric ramp in the back and space for her daughter’s wheelchair. She started writing down the company that does conversions in Michigan. Hers cost $20,000 on top of the cost of the vehicle. She had loads of helpful information.
The real reason she wanted to talk to me was not because of her van but because she wanted to give us her daughter’s old equipment. Her daughter was now eleven and she had all this stuff in the basement and she thought we would be able to use it. Little did she know that we didn’t have anything!
The next afternoon, the day we were headed back to Toronto, we met again in the Target parking lot and she gave us a special stroller with an additional seat base for when Sebastian grows out of this one, a bench with supports for back and legs, a gait trainer (it’s large, probably a few years away using that one), and a Special Tomato floor chair on wheels (that I had just been looking at online the previous week to buy). She was planning to donate it to the Livingston Education Service Agency that week. Until she saw us.
Pretty amazing. Sebastian smiled happily as he tried out the stroller and chair in the parking lot. We spoke to D for a bit, she offered tips and things she wished she had known or done way back in the early days. We let her know how thankful and blessed we were to meet her. And then it was time to go. We embraced in a big family bear hug, all grinning ear to ear.
It’s true we get to meet the most amazing people we wouldn’t otherwise. I’m thankful God put us in each others’ paths.