Taking the Time

by Linda L. Kerby
Leawood, Kansas, USA

Taking the Time

I often shop at a large combination discount-department-grocery store because I can get a handicapped cart there, and it’s a one-stop kind of shopping so I don’t have to get in and out of the car several times to get everything I need. One day, I was trying to unload my cart and balance my cane in the process when a woman and her two young daughters walked by. They stopped a few feet away, turned around and came back to ask me if they could help me put my purchases in the car.

I was so surprised that I couldn’t say anything. She was very nice and introduced herself and said that she didn’t mean to insult me, but she thought I looked like I could use some help. I struggle to remain independent and I don’t like to ask for assistance, but I knew that it was important for all of us to have me accept her offer. The two girls were quiet but friendly, and they were very careful of the purchases and how they placed them into the car.

When the basket was empty, one of the girls said that she would return it to the store for me. Then the mother said, “You do have someone at home to help you unload all this, don’t you?” I told her that I did not, but I could manage, especially since they had helped me already. She asked if I would allow her to follow me home and help me take my purchases into the house. I was again surprised and did not immediately answer her. She apologized again, and reassured me that she meant me no harm and that she would not try to take advantage of me in any way, repeating that she just wanted to be of help to me.

Through my tears I explained to her that being a good role model for her daughters was more help than she could ever imagine. She had put into action what some parents only tell their children about helping, and caring, and giving of yourself. I know that this event will be a living lesson for her girls, and I’m sure it was only one of many. This woman did not perform a dramatic rescue, or enter into an obviously risky situation as firemen and policemen do each and every day. But she took the time to look, listen, and feel, and to show her daughters what it really means to “love one another.”

Originally published as HeroicStories #111 on Jan 2, 2000
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 2.

1 thought on “Taking the Time”

  1. The really important thing this woman did was ASK the disabled person if she needed help. Some people will just grab someone’s wheelchair or whatever they’re carrying without asking, as if the disabled person has no agency or choice in the matter. Even if they’re just trying to help, no one wants a stranger to just grab them or their stuff without being asked.


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