I had to go to the secretary of state yesterday to take care of a few things for the new van. I wanted to get it out of the way during the day, so as not to eat up our precious family time once Mr. Smith is home. This meant taking all the kids with me.
That doesn't freak me out the way one might think it would. It keeps me on my toes, having them in a public place for an unknown length of time, but it's part of my job and I try to embrace it. I even sometimes hope to be a good witness for our lifestyle, giving glory to God for the blessing of a big family and well-behaved children. Sometimes.
I noticed right away that they were busier than usual. I had had pretty good luck the last few times there, in and out in 20 minutes or so. This would not be the case and I braced myself. We took a number -- 39. I surveyed the room and saw there was no way we could sit in the rows of chairs provided for waiting; there weren't more than two open in a row in the whole bunch. (A young guy who had walked in right in front of me thought twice before sitting and offered me his single chair. I resisted the urge to ask him what good that was going to do me :o) - he was trying to be nice.)
I spotted a chair against the far wall, away from the crowd, where the employees come and go (they may or may not have glared at me several times while weaving through my kids in those comings and goings). I actually had enough pens in my purse for all of the boys, and with a deposit slip each from the back of my checkbook, they settled in across the floor.
I thought, okay, 39, so what number are we on?...I looked around for the screen and finally found it above my head on the wall behind us...5. Wow. This could get ugly. The kids were doing well though, and 20 minutes later, when they were on number 14, I still wasn't panicking. Concerned? Yes. Panicking? Not yet.
That's when he walked over to me. A middle-age-ish man with a clipboard and kind eyes. He asked me what number I had, and I told him. He said, "Here, I've got 26, trade with me and we'll get you out of here a little quicker."
Can you believe it?! My heart soared, with gratitude toward this kind soul, and hope for humanity in general.
I got through the line, out to the van, and nursed the baby before I saw him leave after waiting out his new number. I've said many prayers for this thoughtful stranger, that he be rewarded for his selflessness. I'll not soon forget the one who reminded me that there are good people in this world.