‘I was leaking salty tears in the parking lot.’: McDonald’s worker shares act of kindness for tired mom

More Stories like:

“Please excuse me while I cry my eyeballs out.

I’m in the grocery store parking lot (my preferred destination for #midlife #meltdowns over the years), but this time it’s not Sunday, and I’m not freaking out over oh-my-God-I’ve-got-7-loads-of-laundry-to-do-and-I’m-late-for-church-and-I-still-have-$200-of-groceries-to-buy-and-my-flight-for-work-leaves-at-7am-tomorrow-and-will-the-3rd-graders-project-get-done-and-what-is-the-6th-graders-practice-schedule-this-week-because-I-was-with-him-at-the-tournament-all-day-yesterday-and-my-brain-is-fried.

It took a minute, but we fixed all that in our house.


No, this time it’s Saturday and I drove through my neighborhood McDonald’s to get a Coke (sit down all you friends who are too good for soda because did you even read the above run-on-sentence that was my life for actual years) on my way to buy ingredients to make hummus.

If that isn’t a picture of privilege – ‘It’s Saturday and I think I shall make hummus!’ – I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I like to get dollar Cokes from the McDonald’s drive-thru. It makes me feel better on days following nights like last night.

I picked up one (still-not-driving) teen up at 11:30 who later woke me at 12:30. (Good night, I love you, Mom!)

Followed by the 1:30 text from another baby adult under my roof. (I’m home safely, Mom!)

Followed by being awoken at 2 a.m. by the same kid. (Is my dog in your bed? Of course she is. COME HERE, GIRL!)

And then, a reluctant sigh because I’m SUCH a Mom. (Yes Mom, I’ll tell you bye before I leave for the beach in the morning.)

Followed by my husband getting up at 2:30. (I can’t sleep, Whit!)

Followed by being abruptly awakened a few short hours later. (GOOD MORNING YOU WANTED TO SEE ME BEFORE I LEAVE FOR THE BEACH. I’M LEAVING NOW. BYE.)

Friends, I just thought I gave up this irreverent sleep schedule when I got people out of Pull-Ups.

Anyway, sometimes when I go through the McD’s drive-thru I see Linda*.

Linda and I could not be more different. Or the same.

See, Linda wears a purple wig and currently lives in a hotel. This makes us different.

And she works really, really hard and wants what’s best for her family. That makes us the same.

I know this because while the purple wig isn’t hard to miss, the rest of her story is if you don’t open your eyes.

Sometimes, you just have to ask people how they’re doing. And sometimes, they’ll pause what they’re doing, and they’ll actually tell you.

This is how I know pieces of Linda’s story, and this is why I’m aware someone with whom I interact almost on the daily is a half a step away from homelessness.

I see Linda and she sees me.

‘How are you doing today, Baby?’

That’s what Linda asks me at the window on my I-need-a-Coke days. Maybe she asks everybody, I don’t know. I could totally see her doing that.

So today, when she asked, I told her, ‘Linda, I’m tired.’

And that’s when she said, ‘I got you, Baby.’

And she wouldn’t scan my card. Or take my money.

Instead, Linda handed me my Coke and looked at me hard and simply said, ‘I got you, Baby.’

And she might as well have washed my feet.

Because I’m pretty sure that’s what the whole Bible story about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet is about. Serving our fellow humankind without regard for status.

The last being first.

God eschewing power and loving the least.

And that’s why this Midlifer is leaking salty tears in the grocery store parking lot before making homemade hummus.

Because seeing and being seen is profound.

And isn’t that kind of the whole God message?

Anyway, from Linda’s lips to all of our ears – because somebody out there today needs their dollar Coke today, too – allow me to remind you that you are seen.

I am certain of it.

The Creator of all of us wants to tell you one thing whatever your hair and life circumstances currently look like, and it’s very simply this:


*Linda is a pseudonym because of privacy.

middle aged woman smiling in park
Courtesy of Whitney Westbrook

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Whitney Westbrook. You can follow her on Facebook for more misadventures and insights on all things midlife. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this:

‘My card declined at the grocery store. I forgot to bring cash. I stood outside my car door, ready to jump in, when a car pulled up next to me.’: Mom drawn to faith by random acts of kindness, ‘I’ve been getting signs for a long time’

‘A young lady in purple scrubs stopped ahead of us. ‘Did you really just do that?’ She teared up.’: Sisters share multiple acts of kindness with compassionate nurse

‘Delivering chocolate cake wasn’t on my to-do list, but I couldn’t have chosen a better way to use my 12 minutes.’: Woman shares importance of small acts of kindness

‘I started apologizing for my loud kids. Before I got the words out she said, ‘You’re an incredible mom. You’re doing great.’: Mom shares kind act from ‘Cracker Barrel Fairy Godmother’

Help us show compassion is contagious. SHARE this beautiful story on Facebook with friends and family.

 Share  Tweet