When a Stranger Saw Me Crying and Handed Me Chocolate


One of the inconvenient things about living with anxiety is bursting into tears in public. On one particular afternoon, my car was in the shop and needed an expensive repair. Plus, I was in the middle of moving, so my anxiety was already high.

When the man at the service desk told me how much the repair would cost, the tears welled up uncontrollably. The stress of moving, money and everything was just too much in that moment. I excused myself out the side door and broke down. Overwhelmed with the feeling that everyone was going to see me and think I had lost it, I put my cell phone to my ear to pretend I was on the phone. That way, hopefully no one would bother me.

One person saw me and decided to approach anyway.

He was an older gentleman. I watched him approach with wide eyes, terrified of interacting with a stranger in my current state. Then, I saw he was holding out his hand to me. I blinked away tears and saw in it was a wrapped piece of chocolate.

“It’s going to be OK, honey,” he said. “We weren’t born with instructions for life stuffed in the crack of our asses.”

Suddenly, I found myself both laughing and crying. I took the candy from him and managed to choke out a, “Thank you,” before he walked away.

Since the chocolate was wrapped, I felt safe eating it. I ate it right then and there, letting it melt in my mouth while I processed what just happened. I had never been comforted by a stranger like that before.

Of course, I started to cry more, because I found the gesture touching. I was also laughing a little and moved by a stranger’s kindness. Chocolate and kind words may not have the power to take anxiety away, but they are gestures I will never forget.

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