“My wife and I had been on a rare trip to Plymouth to do some shopping and pick up some cash owed to me by a charity I work for. This meant that, unusually, I had a £50 note in my pocket. On the way back home we stopped at a busy farm shop/café for a cup of tea. Standing at the counter, we turned around with our tray of tea and cake, to see a very crowded sight before us. There was nothing for it but to share a table with someone else, not something I would normally choose to do!
‘Is it OK to sit here?’ I questioned a young mother, as her two children clamoured for her attention. She picked a dummy from the floor, licked it and gave it back to her baby in a pushchair, and, pushing hair out of her eyes, said ‘’Yes, OK!’
Being in such close proximity, each drinking our tea, it was hard not to acknowledge each other, and gradually we began chatting about her children.
It became obvious that the elder child, a three year old, had some disability of sorts.
‘Yes, he’s blind, has been since birth’.
We heard that she was mothering on her own, and although her own parents were being really supportive, she was still basically a single parent, dealing with all the challenges that a child with a disability brings, plus her young baby. She did indeed seem a bit tired and weary-looking, downtrodden by what life had thrown at her. Yet what we could see was that this mother was really sweet with her child. The love really shone from her – it simply poured out as she dealt with her son’s needs.
‘Yes, life is a bit of a challenge’, she said. ‘He has been going to (some sort of educational programme) that has been very helpful, but the programme is only available for a short time each week. It’s a bit sad that he can’t benefit more.’
It became clear that it would be really helpful if she could have access to a particular computer adapted for her son. But it was about £400, which she didn’t have.
At this moment I remembered the money I had in my pocket – money that I didn’t normally have, and on an impulse I felt moved to give it to her. I sat with this idea for a bit and weighed it up, thinking ‘Am I being naïve? Is this a carefully constructed scam I am about to fall for?’ But it didn’t feel like that – the whole energy around our conversation together had been genuine, I thought.
As we stood up to leave, I put my hand in my pocket. The £50 note was still there.
“I’d like to give this to you, to go towards buying the computer’, I said, and put the money down on the table. I didn’t linger; I didn’t want to see her reaction; didn’t want that to be part of the deal. I just wanted to give. That was enough.
Relaying this now, I don’t know what she actually did with that £50. I hope it became the beginning of savings towards that computer. I just know that I responded with a loving gesture to the love I had seen her demonstrate to her child. Maybe one day she will offer a gesture of love to someone too, and in that way, the love will be shared even more.”