The Power of Kindness
For the past two months, I had been not so patiently awaiting a story in the Indianapolis Star that was supposed to be about several Indianapolis moms doing good in their babies’ names. I was interviewed for the piece and was anxious to see how it turned out. I learned that it was going to be on the front page of one of the sections yesterday.
Sunday was a rainy day in Indianapolis with the remnants of Hurricane Issac dropping steady rain on the Indy area. I’m a sucker for curling up on a rainy day, especially a rainy Sunday, so I didn’t go in search of a copy of the paper until about 7 p.m. I left the house in flip flops and sweatpants, thinking I was just driving to the gas station down the street.
No paper there. I moved on to the next gas station. Also sold out.
I kept driving and saw a paper box outside of a Dollar Store, after begging the clerks to give me some of the change from the dish soap I didn’t want to buy in quarters, I excitedly jammed them into the machine. Only it wouldn’t work. I sighed and moved on. Another gas station was sold out. I found another box and was excited my journey wasn’t almost over. I hurridly opened the paper after the box finally worked, only it was Saturday’s paper. I kept going. Sometime around then my mom called and in my frustration I wasn’t the nicest.
Another gas station was sold out. A pharmacy didn’t have any copies either. I dejectedly walked into a grocery store, where the clerk told me the Sunday paper was sold out. I slumped back to the car and after more than hour later and nearly ten different stops came to the conclusion people in Indianapolis loved their Sunday paper and it was sold out everywhere.
When I got home, I jumped on to Facebook and this is when my search looked up. Several people offered to send me their copies. I was so happy and moved at their kindness. One woman even offered to send her fiance to meet me that night. After being reassured it wasn’t out of his way and wasn’t a bother, my husband and I jumped in the truck to meet him.
We were a few minutes early so my husband suggested I run into another grocery store to check on our way to the meeting spot. I felt like telling him to forget it, but knew he’d get frustrated with me so instead I decided to go in to have a good show of it so that I could run back out and tell him indeed I was right there were no Sunday papers for sale in this city.
Only after a few minutes search to find the newspaper rack, it had several papers. I did a triple check to make sure they were indeed Sunday papers. I quickly flipped through it and found Cora’s picture front and center on one of the sections.
I jumped into the only open line where I felt frustration at first. I didn’t want to be late meeting up for the paper, and my husband was waiting in the car. A family in front of me was moving slow and the cashier was moving slow, chatting them up. I calmed myself down and tried to turn my frustration into at least neutrality. I looked closer at the little baby in the car seat on the bag of the shopping car. He looked only a few months old and was quite cutely pursing his lips into a kissy face.
“How old is he,” the chatty Cathy cashier asked.
“Just about four months,” the proud mom answered.
It hit me. Here was a little Hoosier baby born four months ago, or after the law for heart defect screening in Indiana took place. He must have been screened, because of my baby. My baby featured in the article I was buying. He was screened for heart defects because of Cora and me. I teared up, but determined not to scare any of these people too much so kept the observation to myself.
I was so emotional, because of my kindness and determination, this baby was a bit safer. I purchased the paper and ran out to the truck, where my husband didn’t say anything but gave me that “I was right” look when he saw my newspaper in hand.
We met the nice man whose nice fiance had sent him to meet two Internet strangers, all because they wanted to do something kind.
I was happy to have another copy.
Call me a hippy dippy sentimental sob, but here’s how I felt in that moment. All my frustration in my earlier search and my own negativity had been wiped away. When I went home and all those people kindly offered to send copies or offered up ideas of getting one, that kindness became a powerful force that led to this late night journey to meet up for a copy, and find some more copies. The late night journey that led me to be able to see for myself the result of Cora’s short life, a baby whose family I don’t know. Whose family will never probably know why he was screened. Just one of thousands of Hoosier babies born this year that were screened for congenital heart disease.
We never would have gone to that grocery store had we not been meeting that man. It’s just not where we go, and I’d already been to another grocery store in that chain in my earlier search.
That little baby never would have been screened had I not lobbied for screening from the kindness of my heart, and out of the love for my little baby.
It’s awe inspiring what kindness and love can really do in your life. They multiple in ways you’d never imagine.