by Donna E.
A few years ago, I was Christmas shopping at one of the local malls. Although spirits were high, everyone I saw seemed exhausted. It was late in the season, and everyone seemed ready shop until they dropped. One woman in particular seemed closer to dropping than most of us.
There were several benches in a waiting area of the mall, but because of the holiday season, they were all taken. I watched as the woman, who was very pregnant and obviously due very soon, walked up. She leaned heavily on her husband. Seeing that all the benches were taken, she sat down wearily on the stone wall surrounding the area.
Her husband sat beside her, and I could see the look of concern on his face as he fussed over his wife. I also saw that her shoes were untied, a sure sign that her feet were swollen due to her pregnancy.
I was sitting close enough to hear her tell her husband that her feet were hurting her badly, and she didn’t know how much longer she could keep going on this particular trip. She seemed apologetic as she told him that they might have to make yet another trip to finish up with their shopping.
Suddenly, the woman jumped up and quickly headed for the mall entrance. Her husband followed her, asking her what was wrong. I was concerned as well, but thought it was probably none of my business.
When the woman reached the doors leading outside, I saw the reason for her rush. An elderly woman was struggling to hold the door open as she attempted to push a man in a wheelchair through it.
The pregnant woman held the door so that the older woman could push the wheelchair through. The older woman smiled gratefully and thanked her. The younger woman had put aside her own discomfort to help someone she saw who was in greater need.
Even though there were hundreds of other people around who could have helped, she was the only one who saw through her own aches and exhaustion to see that someone else was having problems. If anyone else even noticed, they did nothing to help. And although she was no longer close enough for me to hear what she said, I saw her smile sheepishly at her husband and shrug her shoulders. Her husband looked proud as he hugged her.
I’ve often wondered if anyone was as thoughtful to that woman in the months that followed, perhaps holding a door so she could push a baby stroller through it. She made me realize that no matter how tired and miserable we may be at any given time, there is still always something we can do to help someone in greater need.