To the strangers who saved me today, thank you.

Today, we took Baby Avery to her first UW Huskies game. By all accounts, it was an unmitigated disaster. While she largely slept through our 45 minutes of token tailgating, within 5 minutes of entering the stadium, meltdown ensued. Turns out that noise cancelling baby earmuffs aren't sufficiently effective for our baby. After 2 minutes of screaming, I was desperate to get her out of there.

As I was attempting to make my hasty exit, the guy sitting behind us (who, mind you, had been squatting in our seats before we arrived), decided to remark that the baby was probably crying because her earmuffs were in Oregon Duck colors (they were yellow with a teal logo, so the statement was a stretch to begin with - I bought them because purple wasn't an option so I went for Huskies gold).

If I had not been strapped to a screaming infant, I would have decked him. I thought about it. It actually occurred to me that I was leaving anyway, so who gave a shit if I got kicked out? Instead, I assured Mark that I was okay, that I could handle it, and that he should have fun. And I meant it. I did this because I'm a damn moron.

Anyway, I made it out of the stands, and then decided to attempt to nurse Avery by the stairs leading down to ground level. The only bench in sight was being occupied by a stadium employee who gave no indication she was willing to share, so I plopped down on the steps, took Avery out of her carrier, and tried to offer the only consolation I could think of. It was a no go. She kept screaming.

At this point, the only available option became getting her out of there as fast as possible. I was juggling a couple of baby items, and trying to wrestle my prostrate, screaming infant into a front carrier. It was not working well, and I was, quite honestly, starting to panic. People were staring. I was now not only a terrible mother, but a conspicuously terrible mother who could not calm her child.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, two middle-aged men came up and started helping me. They didn't offer, they just said "let us help," and did. One of them managed to get Avery's legs straddled over her carrier. The other helped me get the straps over my shoulders and across my back. I kept apologizing, and the one guy just kept saying "it's okay, don't apologize, you have nothing to apologize for." I could have cried I was so grateful and relieved.

I have no idea who these two strangers were. I didn't get their names. I barely saw their faces. But in a terrible moment they provided the extra hands I needed and the exact words I needed to hear.

I wish I could tell them that today they were angels, that their kindness was deeply appreciated, that it felt like a miracle that they could see my need and meet it, even when I couldn't ask. I'll never be able to thank them for the service they performed today, but I can use this story as a reminder to myself and to everyone else out there that random acts of kindness are not unnoticed, unappreciated, or forgotten. You have no idea when a kind word of gesture could change someone's day or week or life.

To the strangers who helped me today, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It was noticed, appreciated, and will never be forgotten.


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