This mother, who chose to remain anonymous, posted a picture of the parking ticket she got outside the hospital, along with a note from a kind stranger named Laura, to the Canberra Mums Facebook page this weekend:
This unbelievable and random act of kindness came on the heels of good news: The parking ticket was paid as the mother was picking up her infant son from the Canberra Hospital after he had been discharged on Sunday. In just a few days, the post has received more than 80,000 likes and 11,000 shares.
What's so beautiful about this gesture is that it wasn't just any parking ticket. A stranger recognized the fact that a car parked outside the hospital was probably not there for the best reason. The odds were, the owner of the vehicle was struggling and could use some relief.
Instead of a young mother of a sick baby coming out of the hospital to face yet another frustration, she was met with a message of hope. Even during this lonely time as she played the waiting game, there were strangers looking out for her.
If a stranger like Laura could do something like this for a struggling new mom, just think of how much we can help the parents we already know. When a child goes into the hospital for a health issue, most of the focus is on them. Parents stay by their side day and night, often sacrificing food, sleep and work, until that day when they can finally take their sick child home.
As much as we want to send flowers to a baby or young child in the hospital, or promise we're praying by liking a Facebook update, these struggling parents need our help. On Bump to Bean, Erin Halper, a mother of a 15-month-old child who has had two open-heart surgeries, says that while balloons and flowers are appreciated, they may also be useless since they aren't normally allowed on the intensive care floor.
If you know a parent who has a child in the hospital, it's really quite easy: Think practically. Think about what you would want if you were in their shoes, constantly worrying about your child's health. Halper suggests home-cooked meals, cozy socks and blankets for cold hospital rooms, entertainment for hospital downtime and offers of babysitting or transportation to help other children in the family. Even the smallest gesture can make a big difference — like offering help for basic household tasks that can pile up during a hospital stay. Buy groceries, mow the lawn, water the plants, walk the dogs or do a load of laundry.
Laura's kindness to a mom visiting her baby in the hospital had bigger repercussions than she may ever realize. But for the rest of us, we don't have to wait to find a stranger to help. The next time someone on your Facebook feed posts a picture of their sick child in the hospital or a link to a GoFundMe page, don't just like or donate. Go that extra mile.
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