I flew back to Phoenix with my mom. We weren’t able to sit together so she sat up front and I sat five or six rows behind her. While waiting to take off, a baby seated a few rows in front of me began to cry. I could see the baby’s mother rocking him back and forth, trying to soothe him but to no avail. She tried giving him a bottle, then a toy, played peekaboo with him and cuddled him but his cries continued to pitch higher and higher until he was crying hysterically. I watched as people turned around to glance pointedly at the mom and her crying infant while others poked their heads out into the aisle to give each other knowing looks of frustration.
Suddenly, I saw a familiar bag of sliced mangoes being handed back from person to person until it reached the mom. It was familiar because i had sliced and packed that very same bag of mangoes for my mother that morning. The mom took the bag of fruit and in seconds, the baby’s cries stopped. I saw my mother lean out of her seat and say something to the baby’s mom. The people around her laughed and the tension seemed to break. Before long, I could see the baby had fallen asleep.
While others near the mom (who turned out to be travelling alone with twins) were silent, indifferent, passive or even hostile towards her, my mother, from two rows away, found a way to help the struggling mom. My mom turns 75 years old next week and even after all this time, I am still learning life lessons from her….to show unreserved kindness…. readily offer a word of encouragement to others… and never hesitate to offer help to those nearby….even if it’s as simple as a little bag of mangoes.