Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers...

A warming of the heart from the Greenhabilitator...

Going grocery shopping with three kids is like herding cats in room full of cat toys. I've seen other moms do it and I'm always impressed, but Mr. Greenhab and I try it every so often and it's always disastrous. I like to think we're pretty decent, educated parents. We read a lot of parenting books and try to be loving, but firm, with the kids. It doesn't stop our grocery shopping trips from ending the same way every time though:

We spend 10 seconds getting the groceries into the car, then 10 minutes getting the kids wrangled. It usually goes something like "Let's get in the car. Guys! In the car. Let your sister in first please. Let your sister in first. Let your... Okay, pick up your feet so your sister can get by then. Sit down. Sit down. Sit down. Sit. Down." You get the picture. Grocery shopping is a draining process that usually ends with Mr. Greenhab and I sinking into our seats with heavy sighs.

Last week, as we buckled up, a man walked by the car and stopped at our open window. Thinking "I-have-zero-patience-left-and-absolutely-no-ability-to-fake-a-smile-for-whatever-it-is-this-guy-wants." I turned my head to see what what I was in for.

"I know this is going to sound odd, but do you need a seat for your car?" he asked.

It did sound odd considering our car actually came with its own seats. Go figure. Our puzzled looks must have said as much.

"No. I mean, it's a custom-made seat. I used to have an Explorer just like this. Just like this. Same color and interior too. I don't have it anymore and tried to give the seat to Goodwill but they wouldn't take it."

At that point I was a little dazed and confused and kind of felt like he was going to offer me candy to come with him.

I should probably preface this with an explanation of our vehicle situation. We have two small cars and one SUV. DH commutes to work in one of the small cars and I use the other one to taxi the two older kids to/from school. We drive them in the summer and whenever it's not snowing in the fall or spring. Living in a mountain town where it snows a LOT, we also have an Explorer that we drive in the snow or when we all need to go somewhere as a family. It gets used pretty often, despite my dislike of gas-guzzlers. With three kids in car seats, they just don't fit in a compact car. All three cars are older models, bought used, and one is even a hand-me-down.

Over the past few months, we've talked a lot about our car situation. It's increasingly hard to have all three kids on the same row. It's next to impossible to get them all buckled in, they torment each other constantly, and as they get older they need much more room. What we really need is an SUV with third row seating. On the other hand, we just can't add a car payment right now and I really don't want to upsize to an ever bigger SUV. They might make me turn in my tree hugger card for that.

Fast forward to the stranger at my car window...

"You can have this third row seat for free. We had it made when my kids were smaller so we'd have more room for them to sit in the car. Would you like to see it? It's in the back of my truck right now. You can just take it!"

And take it we did! Through the (bizarrely coincidental) kindness of this stranger, we can now put off purchasing a new (used) car for several more years.

8 comments:

EnviRambo said...

People never cease to amaze me.

Diana said...

How bizarre and amazing at the same time! Maybe it's good karma.

Anonymous said...

That's amazing. Would you post pics of the third seat? I'd like to see how it fits in the SUV. Will you post a follow-up blog? I'd like to know if the third seat helps in the getting in the car/kids seated process.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome story!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I love to hear stories like this, it always makes my day better.

Daisy said...

Wonderful! This helps restore my faith in humankind.

Rebecca The Greeniac said...

Wow! Talk about serendipity!

Seleph said...

I really, really don't want to be a downer, but I have to leave a word of caution on installation. Please have a professional mechanic look at it prior to the kids using it. A poor job of re-installing a seat in his truck contributed to losing my big brother when he was 23.

Imagine how the kind stranger feels about serendipity. He couldn't find a way to responsibly dispose of the seat. Suddenly, though, he found a family who not only had the ability to use it, but a genuine need for it.

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