Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crazy Lady

Dear Sweet Target Customer:

Please accept my sincere words of gratitude for your act of kindness toward the almost cartoonish woman who stood ahead of you in line one day last week. She will be referred to hence forth as Crazy Lady. I know that I voice the opinion of the cashier, as well as dozens of patrons when I write that without you handing that disheveled and frantic lady the 58 cents she was digging in her purse to find...the chaotic scene may have gotten uglier.

Many people were irritated with this strange woman wearing a clenched plastic smile long before she got in line with her screaming toddler. I noticed that a middle-age woman with red hair and rimless glasses huffed loudly when the aforementioned toddler managed to wrap his pudgy little fingers around a few plastic cups...sending them rolling down aisle six.

A tall young woman examining coffee pots with her fiance whispered, "yeah, like what that kid needs is sugar," upon noticing that Crazy Lady plopped a Hershey's Kiss into the wide open mouth of the rankled tot...a feeble attempt to secure temporary peace.

And did you see her accidentally ram carts with an elderly gentlemen just as he picked up a large container of laundry detergent? The poor man lost his balance, but fortunately remained on his feet. At least the Crazy Lady offered the fellow a heartfelt apology before darting toward the checkout lanes and muttering something about the ineffectiveness of the caffeinated/decaffeinated coffee blend she drank for breakfast.

With the above-referenced facts in mind, I felt no surprise when Crazy Lady unraveled, like a ball of yawn in the paws of a feisty kitten, when she discovered she had forgotten her wallet. She handed a Target gift card to the young man wearing the red vest and stuttered, "Oh my goodness...I am so sorry...uh...ummm...I...uh..forgot my wallet....I'm sure I have the change you need somewhere in my purse."

The cashier rolled his eyes and fellow Target patrons sighed and shifted their weight from foot to foot while waiting for Crazy Lady to find two quarters, a nickel, and three pennies...their collective level of patience only slighter greater than that belonging to the wailing little boy sitting in Crazy Lady's shopping cart.

Finally, Crazy Lady surrendered. One could obviously tell that this woman was hanging on by only a proverbial frayed thread. She lifted up her hands and with tears welled up in her eyes stammered, "Look, I'm so sorry, but I can only find two dimes....just take something back..I don't care what you take back....just pick something and take it back. I'm sorry...I'm so so so so sorry."

And that is when you, Sweet Target Customer, came to the aid of Crazy Lady, the frazzled clerk, the squalling toddler, and everyone standing in lane twelve at precisely 10:53 a.m. on that one blustery morning when Murphy and his crooked law triumphed.

"It's O.K. ma'am," you said in a gentle voice while handing change to the cashier. "It is impossible to think or find anything when you have a cranky baby. I've been there...I've had three of them."

Crazy Lady thanked you, kissed her toddler, grabbed the plastic bag containing her purchase, and left the store. Everyone was relieved...all because you demonstrated kindness to a screwy stranger. I hope that I remember and mimic your merciful spirit should I ever find myself in a similar situation as you did.

With both appreciation and admiration,

Crazy Lady

Ephesians 4:31-34 (New Living Translation)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.





56 comments:

Lynn said...

Praise God for people who "get it"!!! We've all had our share of crazy lady days.

He And Me + 3 said...

At first I thought you were talking about me...I was in Target just the other day with the same scenario, well except the change part. LOL So glad for wonderful kind strangers.
Great post.

Lisa said...

I remember before we had children and flying across country wondering why people couldn't keep their kids quiet..., and then I became one of those parents. God humbles the proud and gives grace to the humble. Grace to you dear friend!
Blessings - Lisa

Clint said...

Great post. My judgmental nature subsided quite a bit after I had kids (compared to when I was single and observing parents and their children).

No more chocolate though! lol

Krystal said...

Bless your heart! I've so been there and done that! And it makes my heart so happy when you see kind people like the target customer you described! I wished I could remember to be like her everyday!

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

It's funny how we get all bent out of shape when someone is having a rough time with their kids at a store, or taking up more than their "allotted" time at the register, but we've all been there. This was a great post reminding me to keep my sighs to myself and to try and reach out next time!

Xandra

P.S.He loves you.. said...

I love when people reach out and "touch" someone..paying forward and giving what seems like a breath of fresh and when I see a "crazy look alike" I try to pay it forward.

penlighted said...

I just have to read it again...I love how you put the words together to express your gratitude to a stranger. God bless her for her kind heart and may God bless you for having a humble heart to acknowledge what she have done for you.

^_^

mommy4life said...

If only everyone was so sweet to us mommies at our wits end...

Lucy said...

that's so wonderful!

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Oh I love love love this one! From one crazy lady to another... :)

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Oh yes, how I have been there. I look forward to the day when I can return the favor.
THis was so relatable! :)

Gretchen said...

I think I felt my blood pressure rise while reading this post--in sympathy for the Crazy Lady.

Yeah, we've ALL been there.

Praise God for your kind Samaritan.

Misty said...

i wanted to cry reading your post! (dang hormones!)... but i'm so empathetic that you were frazzled (btdt) and so overwhelemd w/ gratitude for you that the sweet lady offered you the correct amount of change! God is good, isn't he?

Stephie said...

Thank you for sharing that there are the kind people out there...the ones that can see through a irritating moment, and let the Spirit from within overcome that rationale, reach out and make someone's rough moment a little easier to handle.

Bethany said...

You have such a gift for writing. Keep it up! Your blog has encouraged me more than once.

Amy said...

This was great post. It made me smile and.... read it again~!

Know you are not alone. I have had the title of "crazy lady" a time or two lately.

Gwen said...

Thank you for sharing this!!! I had a lady at the Starbucks drive thru pay for my order on the day after Thanksgiving. I paid for the couple behind me and continue to do so at most drive thrus I come to. :)

TCKK said...

Great post! I'm so glad there was someone there willing to help. God is so good!

Edie said...

What a great reminder.

I often see this scenario in restaurants when the service is not quite up to par. I look around to see what the situation is and most often the server got three tables at the same time or their is something going on that is beyond the control of that person.

No matter the situation, we are not always seeing what's going on behind the scenes.

Tales From the Eurovan said...

Thank God for those angels sent our way!
Take care,
Julie

Classic MaMa said...

It means so much to have someone understand you and help you. I have many of those days and when I don't, I try to look for others who do, just so I can give them one of those reassuring smiles...you know the ones.

Mrs. Sidney said...

My eyes watered reading this post, being in the midst of mommyhood can be daunting. I have actually had moments where I give into the frustration, run and hide. I think it is amazing how God placed the kind person in your pathway at the very moment you needed it the most. I pray I, too can be this person to someone else one day.

Becca said...

I kept wanting to say "oh, poor lady! She's not crazy, she's just a worn out Mom! Don't be so hard on her!" Then, when I realized YOU were the crazy lady I laughed. We're ALL crazy ladies with cranky toddlers at some point!!!
I too look forward to being able to relieve the burden of mothers in the years to come by simple acts of kindness. It's amazing how far reaching it is.

Mel said...

I am a member of said Crazy Lady club and i am so glad for the tender acts of strangers.

Mary Moss said...

Ohhhh. Pretty convicting. Yes, I'm pretty sure I'll remember this story the next time I'm in line behind her:-)

Slowly Dying.. said...

I have so been the Crazy Lady as well and get even crazier when I catch the glares and comments from others. Well, actually I start to feel inadequate, but this has encouraged me to know that I am not the only one.

smooches,
Larie

Carol said...

I. LOVED. THIS.

Erin said...

What a neat story! I will be more aware of what is going on around me next time I go to the store!

Too Many Hats said...

So glad that Crazy Lady was sent such a kind person that day. I have been on both ends of that scenario and it just pierces your heart when someone is so kind - yeah it was only a little change, but she was willing to step outside her box and give and Crazy Lady accepted the gift. Thanks for sharing - very cool.

DotBlogger said...

I didn't even see that coming.
Great post.
Thank you for your transparency.
Very well written, too.

Liz said...

Beautiful story! I am so glad that someone was nice enough to help you out.

Melissa said...

Well written...I saw myself in the "crazy lady" and I've also been the customer. Having children has mellowed me when it comes to commenting on other children. Mothering is a daily lesson for us all. Thank you, may your next trip be smooth!

Heather C said...

What a wonderful post. Oh how I have been there! Bless you for taking time to thank the kind lady. :)

Brenda Susan said...

What a wonderful post! So well written & totally familiar sounding scenario!

Wifey said...

Love it! I can't count the number of times I've been the Crazy Lady. It's really heartwarming when people lend a hand. Smiles!

karin said...

I was getting a little ticked at how you berated that Crazy Lady. I just wanted someone to come to her side and help! And God sent a kind soul! And I had to chuckle when I realized that you were speaking of yourself! I still thought you were too hard on yourself, lol! Great post though! Can't count how many times I've been the crazy lady when our kids were young. Kindness received is always an inspiration to be observant so we can pass the kindness forward!

Courtney said...

I remember the days when i had no kids and my friends and i would see children going crazy in a store with a frantic mom and we would whisper to each other! Comments such as,"Why cant she just shut that kid up", or,"if that was my kid i would wear their butt out"! Now with kids of my own i realize that we have all been there. We have been THAT MOM, the one with the screaming kid and on the verge of tears ourselves. Thank God for stangers who can understand!!!

everydayMOM said...

That's great! We have all been there so many times. I feel for you and I'm so glad someone helped you out. It's a good reminder for all of us that a small gesture can make such a huge difference.

Anyway... thanks for reading my review of Lost. I'm glad you liked it! =]

Beth in NC said...

That made me want to cry! There is nothing like trying to escape with a fussy child, but leaving the wallet at home too -- oh my!

I pray God blesses that lady.

graceunbound said...

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry while reading this! Screaming toddler AND a forgotten wallet...oh my. What a beautiful picture of grace that other customer showed. (And quite frankly, you showed grace too because if I heard anyone making comments about my child or my parenting I'd be all over them in a heartbeat.)

Amanda said...

Oh my heart goes out to you!! Every mom has been there...but not every mom has experienced the kindness of a stranger... maybe that stranger could see His light in you,and knew it was safe to offer you love.

Irritable Mother said...

This is beautiful. I mean, not that you, er Crazy Lady, went through it, but that there was an understanding and compassionate woman there to give you aid.
I want to be that woman!
Lord, give me eyes to see.

Shane Vander Hart said...

Great post. My wife has had moments like those while shopping. I've had the fortune of being at work when they do happen.

I've had other times of craziness in other locations. It's one of those humbling moments that make you realize - you know I don't have this parenting thing figured out.

God bless the gentleman who helped you out!

Tabitha Chooses Bliss said...

What a blessing!
I received my book today and wanted to thank you so very much!

Jenn said...

Oh, I have so been there! I even had a lady give me change one time because I went over on groceries and didn't have enough. I think my face was the color of a beet, but I was so thankful for her kindness.

Julie said...

Oh, I could relate to this post.....oh I could...

I remember a specific time with a cart full of groceries, and kids in tow.... and there was no checkbook.

I had no credit card of debit card... so I left the cart full of groceries with a promise to be back in a few minutes with money to pay....

I was SO embarrassed...

I've had the screaming, fighting, children in the store... I totally understand......

I would tell you the biggest story but there's not enough space to tell you it all. But let's just say I had people looking out the storefront window at my screaming two year old's temper tantrum because I wouldn't allow her to ride the carousel.
And then there was the bottle of salad dressing that fell out of my bad and shattered on the pavement as I went to grab her while she pulled away to run out towards traffic in her tantrum.

I understand!

Hugs!~

Shonda said...

I truly enjoy the way you write. I could relate to "Crazy Lady." I could see myself as her throughout. I could see the woman whispering the remarks. I could see it all. And I too am so grateful for the kindness strangers have shared with me. What a great point to help me to remember to have mercy on others as others have had mercy on me.
Blessings in Christ-
Shonda

Happyhome said...

Great post Angela! I could see the entire scene playing out.

Casual Friday Everyday said...

Some people get it. Some people understand or remember how it was. Most don't :(

:--) Nell
CasualFridayEveryday.com
Twitter.com/casualeveryday

sister sheri said...

So glad you were willing to allow Sweet Target Customer to pay the difference. I've tried to be that Sweet Target Customer, but I have been spurned... makes it harder to try, again...

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I've been on both sides of the "c"...crazy lady and cranky customer. May God give me the grace to be his "c"...

compassionate at all times.

Well said.

peace~elaine

fraizerbaz said...

I too have been that Crazy Lady...

I can clearly recall standing in the checkout line of the supermarket, trying to keep my daughter from wildly throwing her blankie up in the air (it had already landed on the head of the gentelman standing in front of us).

I had a firm grip on the corner of the blankie, when my four year-old daughter thought she would try to snatch it back from me. At that precise moment, I had just eased up my grip on it, as it was time to dig up my wallet from the bottom of my already too-full purse, when BOINK! my daughter fell back on to the floor, and landed on her bottom. She was burst into tears, and I was trying to console her, while I could feel the glares from every direction.

If there was ever a time when I could just push a fast-forward button, that would probably be it!

Jennifer said...

I love this post! It brought tears to my eyes...we've all been there. However, not always do we have an angel to give us that little pat on the back and tell us "it's going to be okay".

Thanks for dropping by my blog party...I'll definitely be back!

Jennifer

Amy@My Front Porch said...

I just stumbled on your blog and had to smile when I read this! What a nice gesture from a stranger!

Anyone with kids would understand EXACTLY where you were coming from!

Love your blog!

Cheryl said...

I came across your blog through (in)courage.

GREAT POST and absolutely hilarious! I am totally "that" lady sometimes and I am so less judgmental than I used to be, that is for sure!

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