April 2, 2014 by Angel Pricer
Today I was “that lady.” The one nobody wants to get stuck behind in the lengthy, single line out of a parking garage at lunchtime with hungry, antsy kids in the backseat. Worse than the one who can’t find her entrance ticket, I was the one $3 short of the $11 exit fee.
My dusty minivan with no hubcaps was one of many vehicles going to the same place. Having just spent the last three hours at a dress rehearsal for the annual all-school play, we weary, kid wrangling folk were all headed back to school for lunch and recess. Except now, “that lady,” was holding things up.
I might have been embarrassed, as the attendant held the cars behind me at bay so I could back up, park, and be dealt with. Looking at those familiar faces and vehicles in a state of disbelief, I almost had time to worry about what they thought of me.
But in that moment, I was more concerned with the location of my missing debit card, and maybe a little irritated that I just spent $6 on two slices of pizza and a sprite for the kid sitting in the seat behind me. Why, oh why, had I not just packed his lunch like any other Wednesday?
Fortunately, I barely had time to dwell on debilitating thoughts. As I rummaged about for loose change to make up the shortage, the attendant told me someone up ahead had paid for me. He said her name and I recalled our conversation about the joys and challenges of raising nineteen year old children. It brought a smile to my face.
Simultaneously, I heard a “hey Angel” from one of the waiting vehicles. A dad and friend, waving cash, with a smile, offering me a way out of the garage. Hours before, we witnessed a woman (not from our school) aggressively follow and verbally assault a man who was walking his child safely from street to building, all over a parking space.
Maybe there were others who would have been just as happy to help out a fellow parent at the small private school our children share. Perhaps there were some who couldn’t, or wouldn’t help, and a few aghast that I would have gotten myself into such a predicament in the first place. I’ve been all of those people at one point or another. And now, I’ve been “that lady.”
This experience reminds me that our words, actions and deeds are a constant reflection of our state of being in each moment. And our children are learning how to interact with the world based on how we respond when someone else comes up short. Thank you, my friends, for setting a positive example for our kids.