Smallest Act of Caring

people hugging
Turning life around…with kindness

I can’t think of a Martin Luther King Jr. quote that I DON’T like.  One, in particular, popped to mind recently when I was (yes, again) at Costco:

“Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn life around.” – MLK Jr.

Let me set the stage.  Costco was jammed and it struck me that it was the first time I’d seen that many people shopping in close proximity – without masks (mostly) in ages. 

Toward the front, near the checkouts, there were loads of fresh plants – perennials and mums on six-foot tall, massive rolling carts.  It looked like a makeshift greenhouse – one that created a Tetris-like maze for shoppers to navigate.  Get the picture?

Despite the tight quarters, folks were navigating pretty well with their laden carts, except for one sweet mom.  She was attempting to push a flatbed with a wonky wheel with one hand, while holding onto a toddler with the other.  On her hip was a round-faced, wide-eyed baby enjoying his pacifier while looking me over.

Mom’s flatbed load was substantial.  Diapers and towels, cases of juice and jugs of milk.  I suspect she settled for the flatbed because carts were scarce – all in use on a busy day.

As she tried to turn a corner,  the front edge of the flatbed made contact with a display of nuts and then ricocheted forward into a cart with plants.  Wowza.  I was behind her and I could slow-mo see what was happening but couldn’t stop it.  Stuff was flying – but no one got hurt. 

Mom held on tight to the baby and the toddler knew to duck behind her – which is where I was.  Good thing my hands were free because her little dude jumped in my arms to avoid the cascade of cashews.

Oddly, I wasn’t surprised.  It was a mutual move – he jumped up and I scooped at the same time, synchronized-like.  After the clatter and confusion, mom turned around and began apologizing to me, to everyone around her and then stopped – realizing a strange woman (me!) was holding her oldest. 

She was colossally embarrassed and stressed.  Creating a scene in a public place does that to some of us.  Been there; done that – but it’s been a while since I was in her shoes.  Wanting to hide but needing to tough it out, because, you know.  You’re the mom

The Costco folks reset the cashew display and removed the plants and dirt that landed on mom’s flatbed, mixed in with the diapers and stuff.  They were so sweet – ushering her to a closed checkout lane to speed things up, get her on her way.  

As I walked behind her, still carrying her big boy, he announced, “You’re a nice lady and you smell good.”  Mom heard this and laughed – apologizing to me one more time.  “No problem”, I said.  “Right place at the right time.  Moms stick together, you know?”  

I doubt I’ll ever see them again, but it was a sweet reminder of the Martin Luther King Jr. quote.  Cheers to simple stuff, like the smallest act of caring when the opportunity arises, at Costco.  Or anywhere. Right up my alley – and yours, too. I just know it.

-Vicki ❤

Photo by fauxels on

16 responses to “Smallest Act of Caring”

  1. That’s one of my all time favorite quotes, though I had always attributed it to Leo Buscaglia. Oops! What a sweet and lovely story. You certainly were in the right place at the right time, and sure that mom will forever look back on your small act and kind words with fondness and gratitude. It’s a great reminder to look for those small moments that could make someone’s day or completely turn their life around. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh — I love Leo, too! I haven’t thought about his work in ages. Thank you so much for bringing that to me this morning. Hope you have a great day — xo!❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An Audience of One Avatar
    An Audience of One

    How do you DO that? I was literally seeing the whole thing in my mind, play by play! Besides that, it’s a lovely story, and goes beautifully with the quote! 🤍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL – you are too sweet. Thank you for the compliment…just another wacky and wonderful Costco tale. So happy you liked it. xo! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I love this. Gave me a tingle all over!

    “You’re a nice lady and you smell good.” There might not be a bigger compliment ever uttered!

    I’m applauding and inspired from here!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Wynne! I was thinking the same thing about the little dude and his enthusiastic compliment…such a charmer…he’ll go far, one way or another. xo! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, because he already knows how to jump into pretty ladies’ arms. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL…you DO have your father’s sense of humor…I hear him. 😉
          Still, I think I was just a good ‘port in a storm’! xo!

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Where’s my “I ❤ Costco” t-shirt? 😀 There are so many businesses that maintain a “you break it, you buy it” policy. And then come great ones, like Costco, who would rather eat a small loss of a tossed plant or some torn up nut bags, but make the customer(s) feel cherished. Where’s my “Penny wise, Pound foolish” t-shirt? 🙂

      I have so many wonderful Costco stories to share, like the time we were going to buy a vacuum cleaner, but after the cashier swiped it, we decided against it. As we were walking out the door, the person who checks your receipt stopped us and asked where our vacuum cleaner was. We didn’t realize it wasn’t deducted from our bill after we said we didn’t want it. We were immediately directed to receive the refund. Costco had us at hello…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Love this, EW! Agree — only good Costco vibes for us…and sometimes, it feels like the folks who check the receipts are like extensions of our friend/family group…we know when they’ve been out due to illness, family emergencies. Really nice people. So nice to hear your awesome vacuum cleaner story. Wowza! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes! Pre-pandemic we knew most of the employees, and whenever I was looking for my husband when we were on browsing different things, one of them would just tell me where to find him 🙂 How awesome are they?


          1. Hilarious! Same here — my hubby is 6 ft 5 — so they know to point out ‘the tall one’ when he wanders off with the cart (it’s NEVER me – wink!) and I can’t find him. LOL. 😉


      2. Vicki – I pointed EW here because of the great Costco story. You might want to see her post at: for the reference point of our mutual costco love!! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh my goodness…I love this! Fabulous — thank you so much for sharing. xo! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        2. And thank you, Wynne. And thank you, Vicki. There must be more to this story, you know you both have got me thinking 🙃

          Liked by 2 people

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