When a Young Man in the Parking Lot Showed My Daughter Immense Kindness
It was an ordinary day in an ordinary week. Returning from the speech therapist with my then 1-year-old daughter, we stopped at a convenience store to pick up a few things. Just outside the store a gentleman in his early 30s walked over to us and asked if we’d like to buy a rose. He wore a sharp black suit, a bright white shirt and a red tie. He had Down syndrome.
I grinned and as gently as I could, I said “No, thank you.” He grinned back and walked off.
I watched him walk over to the next people… then the next… and next. He received mixed reactions, but his smile never left his face.
When we left the store I had a quick look-around but couldn’t find this gentleman. Only when we got into the car did I notice him walk up to two men standing a couple of cars away from us and ask for a cigarette. I don’t think I’ll ever forget their faces or their reaction of disgust that emanated from them because he dare to talk to them and ask for something of theirs. They walked off without too much of a confrontation, yet he remained smiling. I knew he had similar encounters.
He then turned and walked over to our car. I rolled down the window.
“Do you happen to have a cigarette?”
I quit smoking about a month earlier and this was the first day I regretted I did so.
I sank in my seat and muttered, “I’m sorry. I don’t smoke.”
He smiled, took one of the roses, looked at my daughter and said, “A rose for the lady.”
He handed me the rose and walked off.
My daughter, Rozie, also happens to have Down syndrome.
It took me a few minutes to gather myself. We drove home, singing as loud as we could all the way.
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