This weekend, my family and I attended the New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY. On Friday, I bravely went by myself and the 4 children, ages 7 years, 6 years, 20 months, and 2 months. We ended up parking a distance away from the fair and had to take a shuttle to get to the fairgrounds. I got everyone out of the van, the babies and our gear (diaper bag, snacks, water, etc) into the stroller and we headed to the shuttle stop. I knew I was going to have trouble getting on the trouble with the double stroller and 4 kids, but figured I would manage. When the shuttle arrived, I had my 7 year old take the littlest baby (in his car seat carrier) to get on the bus, while I folded up the stroller to bring that on and the 6 year old held the other baby's hand to get on. I really did not like the idea of my 7 year old carrying the baby onto the bus, but I really could see no other way at the time. Just then, a kind man came off the bus and asked if he could carry the baby onto the bus for me. After accepting his help and thanking him, we continued on to the fair.
Upon arriving at the fair gates, the same gentleman who helped earlier, grabbed the stroller for me and took it off the bus AND set it up for me. After I thanked him again, he smiled and said he remembered when his girls were young and then he was on his way. I was so incredibly thankful that this man would stop and help a complete stranger that he saw could use help, but had not asked for it. I was not in dire need of help at that time, but the help I received helped keep me from feeling overwhelmed.
Later in the day, a woman saw me struggling to get the stroller out of one of the buildings and she came up and just picked up the front tires and helped me. Again, a situation I could have managed on my own, but was made so much easier by the help of a stranger.
Then again when we were leaving, a gentleman that was boarding the shuttle as I was getting off, offered to take the stroller off for me and then he set it up for me. These three people who helped me with simple tasks, touched my life in a special way. They allowed me to truly enjoy the day at the fair with my children and helped me to keep my sanity and composure when I had struggles.
We returned to the fair today with my husband and while I did not have any situations where I needed stroller assistance, the kindness of strangers continued on. As we were getting an snack to eat, a young woman approached me and handed me a milk ticket. They cost 25 cents and are redeemable for a glass of cold milk in the dairy building, so she was not out a whole lot of money, but I was touched by her offer anyway and the girls loved having another glass of chocolate milk.
At the New York Central Mutual booth, we entered our names to win a prize. They also had little "gifts" people could take, including orange plastic bags to keep all your fair goodies in. As I was entering the drawing, the woman working at the booth went into the building and came back with this great zippered totebag. I thought nothing of it and when I finished my entry form went to take an orange bag. She looked at me, handed me the totebag, and stated that with 4 kids I needed a bigger bag. I was incredilbly grateful and put the bag to good use throughout the rest of our day.
I know money is tight for many of us and time is often short as well, but each of these people did something for me and my family that cost very little, if anything, and took just a few moments of their time. The little bit that they gave made a big impact on me, but also on my children. It made us realize how much those little things that we can do for others can make such a huge difference for them. We also realized that sometimes the best help we can give, is the help that is unasked for. None of these people asked me if I needed help or "gifts", they simply saw a need I had and stepped up to fill it.