Depending On The Kindness Of Strangers

I’ve never really depended on the kindness of strangers. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I just don’t have that much faith in my fellow human beings. I am, however happy to be surprised when someone exceeds my expectations for basic humanity. This is a story of an lovely couple that did just that.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to take Bear to Dreamworld. We spent half an hour packing up the car and off we went. Two streets away from home, our son started having a febrile convulsion.Time stopped and we somehow managed to pull him out of his seat while he was fitting and get him laid down. An impossibly kind couple saw us leaning over him in their front yard and not only called an ambulance but invited us into their home until it came. They didn’t know us from Adam, but they still took care of us and made sure we were okay.

We’ve had stays in hospital for these before as he frequently has more than one per illness but given he hadn’t had one since November, we and his doctors decided to stop putting him through tests and just wait to see if he grew out of them. When M looked back and saw it happening, we were completely blown away. Not only did he not feel warm when we put him in the car, he was showing no other signs of illness. Sure, he had a slightly runny nose but any parent will tell you that a toddler’s nose in winter never stops running.

We pulled up crookedly in front of a house, and laid Bear out gently on a towel. A couple walked out and naturally asked what was going on, seeing as we’d set up shop on their lawn. When they saw our little boy, they called an ambulance and insisted we come straight inside to the warm to wait for it. They talked to us of their granddaughter who had seizures due to a nut allergy and comforted me when I burst into tears.  I remember her saying to me ‘We are parents, we survive. You will get through. You will be okay.’

You see to me, this wasn’t just a seizure. It was going back on the roundabout of EEGs and MRIs. Weighing up anti-seizure meds vs waiting it out. More emergency rooms and specialists visits. Not knowing if this was something he’d grow out of or if it would affect the rest of his life.  It was ages after his last seizure before we could let Bear sleep when he’s ill and not constantly check his temperature. Our tiny family spent months bowing under the weight of medical stress and we’ve just now all started to find our feet again. No-one knew how heavy that weight was until it was lifted, and I’m still not sure how I can keep walking forward with it pressing down again.

They didn’t know any of this. All they knew was there was a child who needed help. That this woman they didn’t know, sobbing in their lounge room needed a hug and some kind words.   I don’t know how she knew the words I needed to hear, but she did. I feel terrible that they were so kind and I can’t even remember their names.  We’ve dropped wine and a card to them but I wish I could tell them how much their kindness helped me on a difficult day.

They’ll probably never read this.  I have no illusions about how far this blog goes around on the internet, but here it is. Thank you for giving me that bit of faith in the kindness of strangers. Thank you for helping my son. And most of all, thank you for your words. They meant more to me than you could ever know. We are parents. We survive.  Our hearts walk around outside our bodies, with no idea how much each bump and bruise kills us. We are parents, and we endure. Because we have to.

Have you had an amazing experience with the kindness of strangers? Or is there something you always wish you’d said? Confess in the comments or join the link-up over at My Home Truths.

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  1. Kindness is felt as well as demonstrated. Your words here resonate and will go out in the world for others to read. There is a meditation called LovingKindness and in that you firstly say words to yourself words such as these ‘may I be well, may I have good mental outlook, may I be safe, may I be happy’…then as time goes on and you feel the words for add people in your life, then those you like, then those you do not much care for and then strangers…it takes all of us to be kind and loving and this is what I am learning each day as I take steps into my new world where I know no-one. I do hope that your little guy is getting well. I hear you on the projection of thoughts to more tests…”May you be well, may you have a good mental outlook, may you be safe and may you be happy”. Dxx

  2. Tory
    I am so glad that the right people were in the right place at a time when you needed it most.
    I don’t know your story at all Tory but it sounds like it has been a very complicated rd for you. Kindness is lovely and even more so when it is completely unexpected.
    Sending you lots of hugs.

  3. “I’ve never really depended on the kindness of strangers. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I just don’t have that much faith in my fellow human beings. I am, however happy to be surprised when someone exceeds my expectations for basic humanity.”

    I could have written that myself this week. Massive hugs. There really needs to be more kindness in the world and it shouldn’t be a random thing either.

    1. Hugs to you too Raych. It’s definitely inspired me to try and be kinder to others I think. Not that I was ever cruel, but I don’t think I looked for opportunities to help people either.

  4. It is heartening to hear about the kindness of strangers. Luckily you pulled up to the right house at the right time. Parenting throws all sorts at us, usually when we don’t need it. We do just have to keep going through it all.

  5. I’m so sorry that this has cropped up again for you. But what lovely people we encounter during some of our lowest moments. Many years ago, when I was about 14, I had to go to hospital in an ambulance with my mother who had attempted suicide. At about 2am her condition was stabilised and I was told I could go home, so I went to the taxi rank and told the cabbie to take me as far as close to home as $7 would get me (it was all I had). He took me all the way home and it would have cost a lot more than that. As I had 3 younger siblings alone at home I had to get home. I always think of him as my guardian angel!

  6. I’m pleased to hear you got help when you needed it but I’m sad to hear that this possibly means more tests and more stress for your family. I hope Bear is feeling better now and that you and your husband are doing okay too x

    1. We are doing better. Very lucky to have our awesome pediatrician/family GP combo who work well together and share information. They take good care of all of us.

  7. What a lovely couple! I had a woman hold Dyllan while I ate lunch on a long distance train when he was a few months old. I was so grateful as he wasn’t crying but just being fussy enough I couldn’t put him down. She loved the chance to nurse a cuddly 6 week old of course too!

  8. Such a big fright for you all. Thank goodness you were taken care of so beautifully. I believe in kindness. I believe that most people would do exactly what this couple has done for you. x

  9. It sounds like – as awful as the situation was – that the kindness of the couple who helped was just what you needed given the weight you are carrying. How lovely they were there and how I hope that carries through, and other opportunities present themselves, as you work through the next steps with Bear. (And take care!) x

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