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When Professionals (Who Don’t Have to be Nice to my Kid) Have Been Nice to my Kid

By Jessie Whitish

If you are ever having a day where you feel down on your parenting or frustrated with your child, talk to a professional. Do I mean someone who will tell you how to parent? No! I mean a professional who will affirm that you are doing a good job and offer a kind word or helping hand. For some professionals—nurses, child care providers, local retailers who sell products for young children, doulas, and more—this kind of support is their daily bread and butter. 

And while these folks on the job have been absolutely invaluable for me as the parent of a young child, the kindness of other professionals (who have no obligation to be nice to my kid) has been impressive. To that end, a list of ways in which people who could have made my life harder as a parent were instead very helpful: 

  • The cashier at a local restaurant who talked to me while I, a very pregnant woman, waited for my carry-out order. I probably wore the perpetually anxious expression of first-time moms, and she told me how excited she was for me. 
  • The server who, during one of our first meals out as a family, offered to bring me some water when she saw me about to mix a bottle of formula  
  • The roadside assistance customer service representative who flagged my flat tire as urgent when she heard my newborn screaming in the background 
  • The cashier who gave me a Toy Story sticker to give to my son, who couldn’t have been more than a few months old at the time. Nash wasn’t into stickers yet, but I appreciated the gesture and stuck it to his stroller. 
  • The cashier at the drug store who brought me a cart in the parking lot so that I didn’t have to haul the carrier inside. Another customer, whose car I had just bumped with Nash’s carrier while getting him out of the car, had just been very rude to me, and the cashier had seen the exchange.  
  • The barista who waved at Nash in his car seat and told me he was cute while I went through the drive-thru 
  • The warehouse store cashier who gave Nash an empty gift card to play with. Nash held on to that card for a long time, finally dropping it when he fell asleep in the backseat on the way home. 
  • Any server who talks to my son. Nash is now a very social toddler, and he loves when servers chat with him, even though they can’t understand a word he says. 
  • The grocery store cashier who brought a sheet of “I shopped here today” stickers over to my son as he toddled beside me through the store 
  • The bank teller who didn’t mind that I propped Nash—a chatty toddler unable to stay still—against me on the counter as I deposited a check 
  • The cashier—at one of those grocery stores where they unload your cart for you—who talked to my son (who desperately needed a nap) while he sat in the cart. Nash was several feet from me because I left him in the cart while the cashier unloaded, and the cashier made sure to point me out to Nash and keep the cart where Nash could see me. 


This list is not exhaustive. So many professionals—including, I’m sure, some who were not having the easiest job or the best shift that day—have taken the time to say something nice to me, or do something sweet for Nash. In the moment, it felt so good to know that someone else cared about us, as I look back, it feels so good to know that our community cares about kids.