Kindness of Strangers Part II

Mondy night it was obvious Mark’s ears were bugging him and I made an appointment with our pediatrician for first thing Tuesday morning. As the boys took their baths Matt started to complain about his left ear. It didn’t seem too bad. To be on top of things I started Motrin right away and figured I’ll see how he is in the morning and go from there. I hate having him miss school.

That night was like watching a woman in hard labor. Matt’s ear pain elevated and grew stronger. Meaner. After an hour of watching him cry in agony I decided to call my pediatrician and he prescribed some numbing ear drops. Off I went to our 24-hour Walgreens around midnight. (It’s amazing how many people are out shopping at that time.)

I rushed home and gave him the drops. They would buy us an hour, maybe two, of peace, but he was back in pain yelling, “When is the pain going to stop?” It was pure torture watching my son in such pain and frustration. There was nothing I could do. Holding him wasn’t helping and my comforting words fell to the floor. I was counting the hours until morning when we were in my pediatrician’s office.

Thankfully Mark slept all night (thanking Motrin over and over again). I am not sure if I could manage two sick kids at that time. I had to wake him up and get us ready to head to the doctor's office. Matt wore his Spiderman PJ’s with a long-sleeve tee. I looked oh so gorgeous in jogging pants, fleece top and clipped-up hair. Matt’s face was swollen from crying all night and my no-make-up eyes were droopy from getting only a couple hours of sleep. It made for a great family portrait!

Matt’s ear started leaking on the way, which relieved the pressure and pain quickly. However, he suffered a perforated ear drum. I was shocked since he never complained about his ear until that night. His doctor said if he knew Matt’s ear was this bad he would of prescribed codeine to knock him out. Mark had so much wax build up that he couldn’t get a good look. But since his throat was red and he still had a low temp, I left with two boys and two prescriptions for antibiotics.

Here is where the real story begins.

I dropped the prescriptions off at Walgreens drive-thru. Since it was going to take 30 minutes to complete and Matt was hungry, I decided to take the boys to McD’s down the street. I place our order, grab my credit card and notice the card reader says “not available”. I ask the lady, “Are you accepting credit cards now?” She said, “The machine is down. Sorry.”

I had no cash and rarely carry it since we earn cash back on our credit card. There I am with two sick kids and I can’t pay for an $8 breakfast! All of the sudden this old man with sweet blue eyes comes up and says, “I got it. Don’t worry. It looks like you guys have been through enough.” Matt explains about his ears and that we were up all night. (He never has a problem explaining things to people.) I said many “thank yous” and took our food.

As we were finishing up our meal, the same man approached Matt and slipped him a $20! I quickly made it clear that he didn’t have to do that. In my mind I am thinking, "Steve has a great position. We live well. Someone else deserves this money, not us. Do we look that bad?" The man walks away smiling and we leave to get the prescriptions and head home.

As I told the story to my friends and family we all chuckled about it. We made comments like, “Did the man see you get into your 2004 mini van?” “Does he know your husband is a high school principal?” Then my mom said something profound -- she always does.

“Maybe it was an angel and you needed to know that everything was going to be ok.”

Not that I needed a hand out, but there was something about a stranger caring about me that comforted me. It spoke of sacrifice and love. I guess Jesus would have done the same no matter what the financial status of an individual is. I was broken and this man’s actions did something to my spirit. It felt nice.

Steve calls from work and I tell the whole story. We have a laugh and then he said, “Well, you need pay it forward now.”

So, I will keep this $20 bill in my wallet and someone out there will be blessed with it one day like I was.

Read about another stranger showing kindness.

UPDATE THIS THURSDAY: Matt and Mark are 100% better. Another mountain climbed and conquered!