The Man in Walmart~ I waited in line at Walmart to check out tonight with my two young children. Anybody who has taken children to Walmart are probably cringing at this very thought. But I have to say, tonight’s trip was out of the ordinary in an unexpected way. As I put the gum back on the shelf for the fourth time that my kids were insistent on me buying, a man approached us. He was a tall, thin, older gentleman and I could tell by the way he carried himself that he was a proud African-American man. He was wearing a Santa hat and an American flag t-shirt. He saw my struggle with my two kids and stopped by at just the right time. He offered them a Santa sticker and asked if I minded if he gave them a small candy cane (the cherry kind, which is Ryder’s favorite) and I agreed with a smile. I was thankful for the entertainment for my kids, but then he began explaining in the kid-friendliest way why today is so special. He wouldn’t allow my kids to take the candy cane until they both told him why they were proud to be an American. My kids were so excited to tell their reasons and I was excited to hear them. Seven-year-old Gabrielle stated, “I’m proud to be an American because we have freedom that not everybody has.” Pleased with her answer, the man smiled. Four-year-old Ryder eagerly chimed right in, “Well, I am proud to be an American because America is beautiful, like in that song.” The man laughed a pleased laugh and handed my kids each a candy cane. He then asked my permission to bless them. He waited until the kids and I bowed our heads and he said the sweetest prayer to my kids about staying proud and true to themselves. In his prayer, he thanked me for being a good mom and reminded me to keep America in my heart for my children. With tears in my eyes, he hugged me and then fist-bumped my children and walked away.
Even though this is a Walmart memory I will never forget, my kids have just stated what a nice man he was, not realizing how remarkable this was for me and I honestly would like to keep it that way. I want them to expect good out of people. I’ve thought about him since I left there. That man didn’t care that I am white. He didn’t care that I am a woman. He didn’t care if I prayed or not and he didn’t care if I celebrated Christmas. He didn’t ask what I do for a living and he honestly never even asked if Gabby and Ryder were my kids. He could just tell, I guess. He took a chance by approaching me and in this country’s current state, maybe I should have been concerned by the fact that any man is approaching my children and I, but I wasn’t. For those moments during the visit with this man, Donald, Hilary, the riots, the sadness- it all went to the back of my mind for the first time since Tuesday evening. The only thing that man wanted by approaching us was to see two children, my two children, smile. He wanted to spread American pride and the word of God and he gave me a little more hope and relief because of it. Tonight we pray for him. We pray for our country. We pray for the people who fight for our freedom of our beautiful country and we pray for good people to continue to outshine this unnecessary hate.