The kindness, and otherwise, of strangers

Because I *still* don't have my drivers license I catch public transport with the kids a lot and I've noticed that little kids seems to bring out the best and the worst in public transport users. This morning I went into the city with Kiz to pick up a few Christmas gifts for the kids and as I was sitting on the train I noticed that the woman beside me was silently weeping, with tears dripping down her face. I didn't want to embarrass her, but I didn't want to ignore her distress either. I fished around in my bag and found a half used travel pack of tissues and put them on the seat between us. As I got off the train I gently touched her arm and pointed to the tissues. We smiled at each other and I got off the train. It made me feel so good to provide the kind of help that I would have liked had I been in her situation (and I have sat weeping on trains, wishing for a tissue).

On our way home we caught the bus. Kiz and I were both tired and hot and so he wanted to yell while I wanted to play mindless games of solitaire on my phone. The yelling toddler wasn't pleasant, but I had tried talking quietly to him, feeding him snacks and even, at one point, putting my hand over his mouth. Kiz kept yelling and I started to get angry glares from a guy at the front of the bus (his shorts were offending my eyes but did I give him dirty looks? No! I'm too polite). An elderly couple were sitting opposite me by this time and when the bus stopped they got up and moved. As the old man went passed me we had this little exchange:
Him (crankily): My wife's not well, can't you keep him quiet!
Me (apologetically): I wish I could but...
Him (even more angry): You could if you really wanted to!
Me (calm but bemused): How?
The old man then stomps further up the bus to sit with his wife, I tear up, mortified, and try singing very quietly to Kiz while imaging all the cruel or kind things I could have said.

...which, I guess, balances out all the people who wave, smile or play peekaboo with the baby or engage Asher in polite conversation, the woman on Tuesday who told me I had very well behaved children and the hundreds of people of all nationalities, ages, backgrounds, genders, etc who have offered to help me on or off buses, or given me a hand with the stroller on the stairs at train stations.

To all the helpers, I send out my heartfelt thanks, to the grumps: may you never need to rely on the kindness of strangers