It seems rare to find someone these days who not only loves their job, but also excels at it.  Perhaps that's the reason why this moment stood out to me so much. The other day while doing a little grocery shopping with my 3 year old son Brody, a man who worked in the produce section of a local supermarket changed my son's entire day, and rescued me from a parenting nightmare. My son and I were doing some grocery shopping at a local supermarket the other day, and Brody wanted to sit in the shopping cart.  Not a problem.  Little man didn't feel like walking and I don't blame him. About 3 minutes into our quick stop to pick up a few odd and ends, he started to get antsy and uncomfortable. It was hard to tell what he was asking for because when he gets a little whiny, like most kids, he tends to stretch his words out a little bit. He kept repeating something over and over that sounded like 'Daddy, I want to sit in a dif'rent cart'.

I explained to him a few times very politely that this was going to be super quick stop and that we'll be into Daddy's Jeep in no time. Also I tried explaining to him that all the carts are the same, and that no matter what cart he sits in, nothing is going to change. I may as well have been speaking Thai and little man wasn't having any of it! 'I want to sit in a dif-renttttt carrrrrrtttttttt!'

I quickly grabbed as many fruits and vegetables as I could.  This little shopping jaunt could become the supermarket trip from hell if I didn't hurry up.  Brody was getting louder and louder. I felt like the person in a horror movie (trapped inside the house) looking at the ringing phone, but afraid to pick it up.  Brody was getting louder and louder, the phone is ringing louder and louder.  Brody is now yelling! The call is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!!

That's when help arrived.  Andre, a 50-something year old man with 10 plus years of experience (according to his  badge) finished polishing a few apples and walked over to the both of us.

'Hey little guy" he said to my son. "We need to get you out of this shopping cart and put you in a cool car, whaddya think?' Brody's eyes lit up as this strange man seemed to be the only one speaking his language.

"Dad, if it's ok, let's get this young fella a cool race car" he offered. "There's one right over there!"

Duh.  Of course there was. And of course I didn't see it. I was too busy obsessing over the bruises on fruit and testing the firmness of avocados to have seen the sweet race car cart that my son, or anyone, would much rather sit in.  It was black, fire painted on the sides and had not one, but two steering wheels.  Brody caught a glimpse of it, but 'Daddy Applebruise' (aka me) clearly had no clue it existed.

Andre proceeded to bring the awesome shopping cart over and I simultaneously started taking Brody out of the one he was in.  It was time to ditch 'the beater' and put my boy in an upgrade.  This was going to be a happy ending. Everyone apparently makes it out alive in 'Panic in the Produce Section'.

Watching a complete stranger do the simplest gesture for my little dude brought a tear to my eye. I'm not sure why actually.

Perhaps it was the way Andre literally wiped down the entire thing top to bottom before helping me put Brody in it.  Or maybe it was just seeing how happy my son was to get inside his new ride.  Or maybe it was watching this man effortlessly and joyfully go above and beyond to help out a kid and his dazed daddy. He didn't have to do any of this, but he did all of it.  I shook his hand, thanked him, and told him how much I appreciated him looking out for my kid.  "No worries" Andre explained.  "My son was that age once" he reminisced. "Enjoy it while they're little, soon he'll be driving his own car around and you'll miss this stuff".

He was right.

The rest of the shopping trip was a breeze.  We zipped up and down the isles as Brody clenched the steering wheel tight, making all the necessary twists and turns needed to navigate our way through the store.

After paying for our groceries, I made one last stop over the produce isle to thank him again.  Andre wasn't there.  Perhaps there was important stuff in the back he needed to tend to.  Or maybe, for Andre, his exchange with Brody and me marked the end of a long shift and he'd  gone home for the day.

Not all heroes wear capes. Some apparently wear aprons, make sure there's fresh New York apples on the shelves, and come to the rescue of a frazzled dad and his little boy in the produce section.






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