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Early last week I had a crappy day. I hadn’t slept well in a couple of nights, I was worried about someone I care about, and a lot of little stupid things went wrong. Tired, on edge, and cranky were the order of the day. Oh, and bad parenting. Bonus!: Homeschooling means that when I’m having a bad day, my daughter not only has a bad parent, she has a bad teacher too. Poor kid.

Returning to my car after picking up a few groceries, I corralled Lilly into the car, put the groceries in the back and turned to walk my shopping cart back to the ‘return cart’ station. A woman was walking by on her way into the store and asked “Do you want me to return that for you?”

“Oh, thank you so much!” I responded, relieved not to have to haul it back since I was already running late.

As I opened the door to my car it occurred to me, “That’s the first good thing to happen to me all day.” I almost cried. Over a shopping cart. It was just that kind of day. Ever since then I can’t stop thinking about how that small gesture meant so much. Tell me you’ve had a day like that. Okay, maybe you don’t cry over someone offering to return your shopping cart but we all have those days where we really need just ONE thing to go right. One teeny little thing to bring us back from the edge of losing it. I realized any person I encounter on any given day might be having “one of those days.” We never know what others are going through. A gesture she probably doesn’t even remember helped me stop, take a deep breath, give thanks for the little things, and move on with my day a little calmer. I realize it’s not solving world hunger, but I think I’ll watch more closely for a chance to do the same for someone else. You never know when your small gesture could be the only good thing in someone’s day.

Do you have a ‘Shopping Cart Lady’ experience?  Did someone provide a small gesture that meant more than the sum of it’s parts? I would love to hear about it.

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