I had a raging migraine. After two doses of my migraine prescription, and assorted home remedies, I had barely reached the stage where I felt like I wasn’t going to keel over.
The kids were scheduled to go to the Build and Grow clinic at Lowe’s. Normally I would have just cancelled the outing, but during the first three weekends in December they do a three-part train project. So missing today would have meant losing out on that whole series.
Conscripting Nick to drive, we packed up and went.
As always, the kids had a fabulous time building their project. And of course they enjoyed the face-painting and balloon sculptures by the resident clown, Scoops.
Afterwards, we were swinging by WalMart for some glue.
Now, going to WalMart on a Saturday is high on my “forbidden” list. And with a migraine, it was even less appealing. But we needed glue for our Advent projects (yeah, I have some somewhere, but it must still be packed), and I didn’t want to fall three more days behind by waiting until Monday.
As Nick drove past the first set of doors, we noticed the Salvation Army bell-ringer. Since they are so ubiquitous, and I don’t have any particular emotional attachment to the Salvation Army, they are pretty easy to ignore.
The we pulled up towards the second set of doors. We saw two very young Marines, and two equally young Sailors, standing in their dress uniforms.
They are harder to ignore. (See my post about Matt Broehm)
Nick waited in the car as the Littles and I went up to the store. As we approached, one of the Marines was explaining their Toys for Tots collection to a woman who had just come out of WalMart.
I asked him if he would mind explaining it to my kids.
He crouched down to their level, and told them in a simple and caring way that they were collecting toys to give to little boys and girls who didn’t have a mom and dad to get presents for them at Christmas.
As he finished, the other woman turned to me and asked if we were going into the store. When I said that we were, she held out $20, and asked if I would be willing to buy some toys for the collection while we were shopping.
I agreed, and had Jewel take charge of the money.
We had a great time inside, shopping for things that were a good value, so that the needy children could get as much as possible. With the $20 we were able to get two multi-packs of Hot Wheels cars, and a nice set of mini dolls and clothes in a case. The kids were delighted to put the toys in the collection box (and pose with the young military men) as we left.
Personally, I kept getting teary-eyed over the fact that a complete stranger would hand me $20 and a charge like that. Really, at WalMart, do people often hand cash to strangers?
What a blessing!
I’m sure part of her trust was simply the fact that I had two little kids, and we were showing interest in the Toys for Tots. But combined with past experiences, I tend to think that my manner of dress also contributed to her level of comfort.
Our silent witness makes an impact when we least expect it.
Migraine or no, I wouldn’t have missed that experience for the world.