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To the Usher at the Cardinals Game Who Spent 2 Innings Finding My Son a Bottle of Milk

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Thank you.

When I asked if you knew where I could find milk for my son, at Busch Stadium on a sweltering summer evening, I expected you to tell me I was out of luck, or at best offer a vague suggestion.

A young boy at a baseball game
An old photo of the author’s son at a previous ballgame

Instead, you took us several sections over into the Redbird Club even though our tickets didn’t grant us access, because you knew it housed a bakery — but they were out of milk. Instead of giving up, you took us three levels down to a store on the main concourse, where we once again struck out — which you know, because you stayed and helped us look.

So you led us halfway around the stadium to a donut stand, where we at last found what we were looking for. While I paid for it, you grabbed us the straw my son was asking for, along with some napkins for good measure. And then you went back with us, halfway around the stadium and up three levels and back through the Redbird Club and over several sections, to make sure we didn’t get lost on our way back, because we’d had to travel so very far to find that bottle of milk. It took two innings, but you made sure my son was happy.

You did all this not knowing why that milk was important to us. You may have thought my son was spoiled, or that I was a pushover unwilling to say no to her 3-year-old. If you thought that, you didn’t show it. You were wonderful.

The author's son wearing a Yadier Molina shirt on the swing
A more recent photo of the author’s son wearing a Yadier Molina shirt on a swing

What you didn’t know is that beneath my son’s Yadi t-shirt, there’s a central line and a feeding tube. You didn’t know that the form and function of his body mean he dehydrates easily, but also that drinking too much water could ultimately land us in the hospital, and for whatever reason, right now milk is the thing he tolerates best.

You didn’t know that for the better part of the last three years, it’s been incredibly hard for us to go places on a whim, and so taking up our friends on these last-minute Cardinals tickets was a small triumph for us. You didn’t know that we might be facing another big surgery soon that could keep us mostly quarantined to our house for weeks or months; or that I’d forgotten to grab his milk because I’d received an unexpected and lengthy phone call from his doctor as we were packing up our ballgame bag and had been distracted by talking through the list of changes she wanted us to make in a last-ditch effort to avoid that surgery.

You didn’t know those things. You just saw a boy who wanted some milk, and you were kind to him. And I can’t thank you enough.

Follow this journey on This Gutsy Life.

Originally published: August 23, 2016
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