Celebrating 9 years of the Kindness of a Stranger (or “The Jacket”)
2002. I’m a new mother on one of my FIRST NIGHTS EVER out of the house since my darling Ella arrived. It’s a balmy evening in West End and my friends and I are enjoying some groovy tunes downstairs at Tongue and Groove.
In the bathroom, I see a woman wearing a red, flower-covered jacket.
“Wow!” I tell her. “Your jacket is identical to my baby daughter’s! I have always wished I could get one in my size, I love it!”
The woman smiled at me. Then she said “Well, you know what? You can have it.”
“Totally, I think it would bring you more happiness than it brings me, you can have it!”
I was gobsmacked. I offered to buy it off her, but she refused, insisting that I simply take it.
I thanked her profusely and floated away into the evening, buoyed by the warm fuzzies.
I never saw her again.
I wish I could tell her how much the recollection of that moment means to me even now.
And I wish I could tell her how much the jacket itself means to my family.
Each year, you see, we photograph Ella wearing it on her birthday.
And yesterday was her 9th. 9 years of awesome. 9 years of daughter love.
And 9 years of documenting my darling Ella’s growth into a jacket from a wonderful stranger who will never know what it means.