A mother was out for weekly grocery shopping with her twins when she saw an elderly lady heading in her direction. She braced herself for the tedious outpour of typical questions about her kids, only to get proven wrong minutes later.
We've all heard the famous English idiom, "Don't judge a book by its cover." However, despite knowing the essence of these golden words, we might perceive others based on their outward appearance without fully comprehending their situation.
In a pandemic-stricken, war-torn world, giving people space and offering them empathy and love is pertinent. Today's story encapsulates a similar theme and is about an interesting encounter between a mother, her kids, and an older woman.
Landra January's twin boys. | Source: facebook.com/landrababy
A DAY AT THE GROCERY STORE
It all began in late 2018 when Landra January was in Walmart with her twins for weekly grocery shopping. She already had her hands full with supervising her little ones and ensuring she didn't miss any item on her grocery list.
Suddenly, she noticed an elderly woman walking toward her in the cereal aisle. January knew where things were headed because she had been in similar situations before.
She thought that the senior citizen was curious about her kids and ready to bombard her with those "typical twin questions." Whenever she went out in public, she always scheduled an extra 20 minutes for answering people's questions about her kids.
A STRANGE ENCOUNTER
But January had grown tired of the same old routine and wasn't ready for another tedious interrogation round. Still, she prepared herself because she didn't want to be rude to the elderly lady.
The reader explained that the older man lost his wife in March 2016 and had been sad, lonely, and in depression since then.
The older woman asked her about the usual things, complimented her twins, and began babbling with them. January couldn't take it anymore and turned to look down the aisle, hoping that the elderly woman would take the hint that she was ready to go.
THE GRIEVING, OLDER WOMAN
But at that moment, something happened that changed the Oklahoma woman's perspective forever. The older woman placed her hand on top of January's hand resting on the shopping cart and said:
"I know you probably hate this and I'm sorry to take up so much of your time. You see, I lost my only grandchild last year, and about the only time I see kids his age is when I do my grocery shopping."
The mom-of-twins was baffled and rendered speechless after the older woman's response. "Well, we are about to go look at the fish; you wanna follow us over there and watch them play for a bit (sic)?" asked January.
A HEART-TOUCHING EXCHANGE
January noticed how the older woman's eyes lit up as she nodded her head in affirmation. "[You don't] know what I would give to be able to hear my grandson laugh one last time," expressed the elderly lady while watching the kids jump and scream in joy.
Then, with January's permission, she hugged the boys and thanked their mother for sparing her precious time. The doting mom saw one of her not-so-friendly twin boys, Darrio, utter "LUH YOU (sic)" to the kind older lady and was deeply moved by the sweet encounter.
January posted about her experience on Facebook and shared that she noticed her attitude shift when she connected with the older woman and heard her story. Her post went viral, racking over 442,000 reactions and 23,000 comments.
ALL IT TOOK WAS A "HI"
Indeed, January would have never understood the older woman's struggles if she didn't interact with her. Sometimes, hearing people out and offering them our company can make a huge difference.
In 2016, Tara Wood and her four-year-old daughter, Norah, experienced this feeling first-hand. The Georgia mom was grocery shopping with her little girl when she saw her waving to a passerby and shouting, "Hi, old person!"
Wood immediately told Norah to use kind words and then saw that the man stopped by and replied, "Well, hi, little lady! How are you today?" Norah chatted with the man, 82-year-old Dan Peterson, for some time and then went to her mom with a special request.
She asked Wood if she could take a picture with her new buddy. Because it was her fourth birthday, Wood agreed, and the duo went back and asked Peterson for a photo. Regarding the heart-touching encounter, Wood recalled:
"When we found him and asked him, he took a step back and put his hand on his chest and said, 'You want a photo with me?' He was shocked and sort of delighted and Norah said, 'Yes, sir, for my birthday.'"
Before leaving, Norah thanked Peterson for being kind and friendly. Wood recollected that she saw him become emotional, after which he said, "No, thank you! You've made me the happiest I've been in a long time."
REACHING OUT TO THE ELDERLY MAN
Touched by the encounter, Wood posted about it on Facebook and shared an adorable photo of Norah and Peterson. Surprisingly, her post caught the attention of someone who knew Peterson and told Wood about his tragedy.
The reader explained that the older man lost his wife in March 2016 and had been sad, lonely, and in depression since then. She expressed that it was the first time she had seen him smile in a long time.
Something tugged at Wood's heart, and she asked the reader for Peterson's contact information. Soon afterward, she contacted the older man, and later that week, Norah and Wood had lunch with him.
FORGING A PROFOUND CONNECTION
Wood observed how Peterson dressed specially for the occasion and how much it meant to him. She also noticed how happy Norah was and how she connected with her friend. Then onwards, the mother and daughter duo visited Peterson every week.
They even celebrated the elderly man's 82nd birthday and bought him balloons and cupcakes. Meanwhile, Wood's Facebook post continued garnering praise from the netizens, and she said she was overwhelmed by people's outpour of love.
Sometimes, even a simple hello can change lives and forge lasting connections, and that's the beauty of human interactions. Please share these heartwarming stories with your family and friends, and spread the much-needed love and cheer.
Here's another story you might like, and it's about a grieving man who saw a toddler in a Target store and handed him a $20 note. Do you want to know why he did that? Click here to read the whole story.