Friday, May 15, 2009


I was wandering through the grocery story recently, annoyed at the weight of the shopping basket in the crook of my arm and harumphing and sighing because I'd forgotten my list on the counter at home and couldn't remember everything I wanted to pick up. I noticed a mentally-disabled young woman being led through the bakery section. Her shoulders were slightly hunched under her large coat as she obediently shuffled behind her guardian.

A little girl, no older than 3, was sitting in her mother's cart—feet dangling, looking around at everything while her mommy perused the bread shelf. The mentally-disabled woman stopped right in front of the little girl, invading her personal body space, you might say. She lifted her hand up next to her cheek and wriggled her fingers at the little girl in a wordless "hello." Her caregiver, who had already moved ahead a few steps, realized that she had stopped walking, turned back to take her by the elbow, and guided her on her way again.

The little girl watched them walk away, and then smiled brightly as she said out loud to no one in particular, "She's nice!"

Everyone else in the vicinity was distracted with their shopping. No one but me observed the exchange, not even the little girl's mother who was squeezing packages of bread a few feet away or the caregiver who was intent on getting to the checkout stand. It was a moment of pure, nonjudgmental friendliness.

I may have forgotten my list that day, but I ended up getting just what I needed.

Dinner last night: pizza


Heather~sheaaa6 said...

Thanks for sharing this sweet moment Kim.
I have a brother that is mentally handicapped and your post made me teary eyed.

HarryJack's Mom said...

Thanx for that! I was just thinking this morning about all the assaults to their innocent joy these last years...I can see them starting to couch their responses and it saddens me. There is a freedom in 'disability' that I sometimes envy. What a great moment for you to experience!

Helene said...

That is so sweet! It sounds like a perfect story for Chicken Soup for the Soul!!!