Molly Schultz is a mother of six. She loves taking her children out for walks and enjoying snacks with them. One of her favorite ways of spending time with her kids is taking them to Sam’s Club. As she explains, there they can take samples, walk around and get cheap pretzels and drinks to enjoy before they go back home.
Sam’s Club is a big place and you can meet lots of people there. The other day, while Molly was there with her twin daughters, they had one encounter that was a little different from what they were used to so far. As the three of them were sitting at a table enjoying their lunch, a little girl approached them with a big smile on her face.
The little girl sat next to them and didn’t say a word. She just kept smiling all the time. Molly looked around since she was sure her mom would be there looking at her daughter making sure she’s safe. When she saw nobody that she could identify as her mother, the woman started getting anxious. Being a mother herself, she could understand how stressful it may have been for her mom to have lost the girl in the crowd and to be looking for her everywhere, desperately calling her name.
Molly tried to hear if someone’s name was being called, but still, no luck with that. That was when she decided that if the girl wasn’t claimed within a few minutes, she would have to inform an employee. For the time being, the girl was safe with them. The girls tried to have a conversation with her, they were asking the girl’s name and tried to include her in their chat, but the girl didn’t say a word- she was just smiling all the time.
At some point, a man, who apparently was her dad, went up to them and thanked them for letting his daughter sit with them. Molly said it was fine, but she noticed the girl was refusing to go with him. Even when he brought food, the girl grabbed her lunch and went back to Molly’s table to eat it. This made the mom even more nervous. She started thinking of whether the man was abusing his daughter and that was why she didn’t want to be next to him. She just didn’t know what to think at that point.
Then it was time to leave. Molly and her daughters picked up their stuff and headed to the exit. But the little girl followed them. When she tried to coax her towards her father and the girl still refused to let them go, the woman knew something was very wrong.
“I honestly didn’t know what to do in this moment. My mom radar was starting to go off and I got a little sick to my stomach,” she said.
That was when the dad approached them again. His words will definitely stay with Molly for a long time:
“I’m so sorry,” he said, “my wife and other daughter recently died in a car accident and I guess she wanted to hang out with you guys.”
This made Molly’s heart sink. Not only did she feel sorry for the man and his daughter’s loss, but she also felt guilty for having made such bad thoughts about him without knowing his situation. Eventually, the three left, after the girl gave them all big hugs.
Then Molly went home and managed to track the man down through parenting groups on social media, but it appeared he needed privacy more than anything at this time, so she respected it.
This chance encounter taught a young mother, but also all of us reading it, a life lesson. That we shouldn’t judge people before we know what they are going through, because we can never know what’s going on in someone’s life that might affect their behavior in certain ways. Let’s try to put empathy, understanding, and compassion before judgment and critique.
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