Ughhh the Empathy!

Last night I was at the back of a packed Queen Street Car during rush hour. When we reached Sherbourne, a young Native woman began to push through the crowd to get to the door. She had a baby in a stroller, and a 2 year old son in a puffy winter jacket and mittens. Navigating the chaos can be hard enough for us assertive, extroverts, but for someone who is shy, it’s torture. This poor woman looked anxious and terrified. She kept saying “sorry, sorry”, as she tried to push through where there was absolutely no room. When she finally got to the top of the stairs, a nice gentleman offered to help her with the stroller. She went first, and he followed behind. However her two year old son was left mid chaos, standing amidst the crowd, wide eyed. I felt the flutters of panic. As the man stepped down with the stroller, people rushed on and the young woman was yelling “Daniel”, “DANIEL”!!!! I literally wanted to cry. I had this rush of empathy… and this nostalgic memory of going through those same feelings when Lily was young. Unless you’ve been through it, no one will understand the overwhelming responsibility of preparing yourself and your children and having to navigate through congestion and keep everyone safe and together. It’s exhausting. I jumped up and pushed through the crowd to Daniel. I stepped down on the stair to make sure the door stayed open and yelled “Daniel is coming”… by the time I helped him down to her, she looked near tears.

Our eyes met and we had a moment.