“I Have Always Depended on the Kindness of Strangers.”

IMG_9817My original plan for this post was to write about my first experience taking a true family vacation with my two young children. I knew it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience with many ups and downs, maybe a couple of funny anecdotes other parents could easily relate to. But, as our vacation went along, something kept happening, over and over, which really touched me and I felt I needed to share it.

We knew it was going to be a challenge – traveling with a very energetic, very head-strong 2.5 year old and an 11 month old who still has yet to figure out 2AM is for sleeping, not partying. When my husband and I booked the trip to Walt Disney World, we debated back and forth: fly or drive (we decided to fly), stay on-property or off (we opted to stay on-property), rent a car or use Disney’s transportation (we braved the Disney bus system). The ground transportation in Florida was our biggest worry. We’d stayed in Disney resorts before and knew how over-crowded and crazy the buses could be. But, we also knew how stressful it could be renting a car at the airport for our family of four and trying to maneuver in a city we weren’t familiar with in a car we weren’t familiar with.

Luckily, it was the kindness of a few fellow travelers which made things just a little more manageable for us.

Our first morning in Orlando, we decided to take the kids to the Magic Kingdom. Apparently, this is what everyone else in the resort was planning as well, which made for a very crowded bus. So, I had the baby strapped to me in her Ergo, holding one stroller, and my husband was holding our excited toddler, another stroller and a backpack. And we were the last ones on the bus, so of course we had to stand. A very lovely woman got my attention and offered up her seat to the baby and me. Her 7-year-old daughter offered her seat to my husband and son. Then, the woman took both of our strollers and said, “I remember what it was like traveling with young children. Let me help you.” She held our strollers for us throughout the ride, and then carried them off the bus for us. Sure, it wasn’t the grandest of gestures, but it was helpful to us, and alleviated our stress just a little bit.

That’s just one example. We had very similar things happen two other times during our time at Disney. There was even some kindness at the airports – some TSA agents in Orlando were happy to accommodate me with the baby asleep in the Ergo and allowed me to go through security without taking her out of the carrier. In Columbus, some gate agents very nicely set up our strollers for us so we didn’t have to worry about unfolding them with kids in-tow as we departed the plane.

After the trip was over and we were back in our own home, my husband and I were remembering these “Good Samaritans.” We’d traveled to Disney many times in our pre-kiddo days, and it occurred to us – we’d never been that generous to other families. And that made me sad. I can only hope, when my kids are a little older and a little less high-maintenance-travelers, that I can be a Good Samaritan to another young family.

Have you encountered any Good Samaritans in your travels with your family? Give them a shout out in the comments!

While not stress-free, our vacation was a little less stressed thanks to some nice strangers.

While not stress-free, our vacation was a little less stressed thanks to some nice strangers.

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