“Mom can we get out and watch the tow truck closer?”
I hesitate. We only have 5 minutes to get down the block to my daughter’s dance class. That sounds like a long time but my kids are notorious for making walking a few blocks take hours and I don’t like being late.
I look down at their pleading faces and shrug. “For a minute” I say.
They hop out of the car and race to the edge of the sidewalk with a “wahoo!”
The man operating the tow truck looks over with a smile. I assume he’s just thinking they’re cute with their ceaseless exuberance but then he surprises me.
“Do you want to come help?”
They glance up at me for a nod and then hop, skip and gleefully jump over to him.
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He lets them take turns with the different levers that move the ramp up, down, in and out. They move a car up and back onto the tow truck.
The whole thing takes less than 5 minutes but they skip all the way to dance waving to the tow truck and shouting “that was the coolest thing ever!”
5 minutes to make their day.
5 minutes to make a couple of kids feel seen and important.
5 minutes to teach them something I doubt they will ever forget.
5 minutes of kindness from a complete stranger to restore my faith in people in a big, busy, smelly city.
Those 5 minutes and that kind man have stayed with me.
When my kids ask to help me slice vegetables or load the washing machine my instinct too often is to sigh. I know them helping will make my task take longer.
Then I think about those 5 minutes.
I let them help and then leave with a smile on their face and a little extra knowledge tucked under their belts.
Those 5 minutes add up.
To the kind smiling tow truck man with the Captain America hat, thank you.
Thank you for seeing my kids that afternoon in Brooklyn.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with them.
Thank you for reminding me the value of those little moments.
Thank you for those 5 minutes.