In the words of my three-year-old and Stephanie Tanner, “How rude.” I have noticed a trend lately where people are so self-absorbed and consumed that they cannot even hold a dang door open for a mother pushing a stroller while holding a toddler. That mother was me today.
Now it wasn’t my first choice to “pop” into a Starbucks with two small children. But when your three-year-old says they have to go potty “so bad,” we’re talking seconds before that car seat is soaked and your car smells like urine for weeks. I see the Starbucks and pull in. I figure I’ll kill two birds with one stone. I get caffeine (much needed as a mom with two kids under three) and my daughter can use the restroom.
I walk up to the door where there were plenty of grown-ups sitting outside (we live in Florida). I’m wearing a heavy mom backpack full of supplies, pushing a very large one year old in his stroller, and carrying my three-year-old daughter. I stop at the front door and look around. I see people smile at the kids but not ONE person stood up to grab the door. I’m talking there were like seven people outside–both women and men. I pull an Elsa and decide to let it go. I put my daughter down and tell her to stay right by me as I awkwardly pull the heavy door open and hold it with one foot, all while herding my children in like cattle.
I go straight to the counter to place my quick order and rush my daughter to the bathroom. Of course, it’s locked. My daughter does the “pee dance” trying to hold it in. Finally, a well-dressed older woman walks out, looks at me and the kids and slams the door behind her. I stare at her in shock as she struts away.
My daughter turns to me and says, “Mommy, why didn’t she hold the door open? She’s a grown-up.” I shake my head in disbelief. My little girl goes over and tries to hold the door open for me and her brother in the stroller. I’m already cringing at the germs on her hands. She relieves herself and I’m ready to GTFO of here.
I grab my much-needed coffee and look around at all the people standing by the door. I think to myself, okay, one of these people HAS to open the door for me. I’m now carrying a hot coffee, pushing a stroller, and at this point wearing my daughter and the backpack. Not one. Not one person near the door, sitting down, or standing in the general vicinity held that door open for me. I’m talking people of society here: a doctor in scrubs, men in their mid-forties, a mom with her son, a business woman, a grandfather.
I struggle to get the door open, and after a couple of tries, we finally escape. My daughter then stops, turns around, and says, “That was rude.” She’s three, people. She’s three and she knows that we should help each other. People should look out for one another. People should say please and thank you. I don’t care who you are, I will always hold the door open for the person behind me. I don’t even look to see who is behind me, I just automatically do it. Now, that may be the Midwest in me, but it’s also called being a decent human being.
Maybe I should have just asked for help. Maybe I should have been more direct. But as my daughter pointed out, these people were all grown-ups. They all saw a tired mom struggling. I have hope for her future and in her generation that respect and kindness will overcome this self-indulgent time we are in. I will teach my son to always hold a door open. I will teach my daughter to always be kind. How we react to people and help others changes their mood and perspective for the day–maybe even their life.
So next time you see someone (or me) struggling, help a mother out.
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