Traveling Grace: The Kindness of Strangers for a Traveled Mom

kindness of strangers Not all those wander are lost

Often times while traveling, a mama and her brood may come across the “less than helpful” fellow travelers who respond to her offspring with the curt answer, eye roll, or even the request to be moved to another seat. But in the serendipitous miracle that travel can reveal, the kindness of a stranger becomes a beam of light, a bit of joy, and a state of grace. For this mom traveling without another adult companion to help reign in my little ones, it is the random kindness I am forever grateful for.

These letters are for you.

kindness of strangers Kid-friendly Washington, Florida, Oregon, Hawaii

Dear Kind Stranger,

You didn’t know my back story when you sat down next to me, but you smiled nicely at my children and picked up my daughter’s crayons when she dropped them…repeatedly. If you had known that my husband was denied leave at the last minute leaving it up to me to travel across country with my two babies under three, if you had known I only get to see my family once a year,  that it was entirely up to me to get them through four airports, three airplanes, two time zones, one meal, and zero naps, you would have had sympathy for me. But because you were a mother too, and had darling stories of traveling with kids as well, you empathized with me instead of taking pity on me. You took the apple juice when they got a little squirmy, held the baby while I took the potty training one to use the toilet, and asked the flight attendant for more blankets when I hadn’t even thought of it myself. Your small acts of kindness were huge in my eyes.

Dear Business Man,

We didn’t have a lot of room in our row, but you didn’t say anything when my 12-month-old’s feet hung over your side of the seat while I nursed her taking off the ground.  I’m pretty sure her sticky lollipop (which was the only thing that made her ears feel better), touched your nice jacket a few times and you were sweet enough not to make a comment. And when we descended, she screamed so loudly from the air pressure, but you just patted her head after and told her she’d feel better now that we were on the ground. Your lack of words spoke volumes to this weary mom.

Kid-friendly Oceanside

Dear Seat Changer,

Now-a-days seat confirmations just don’t seem to be a sure thing. The reservation desk told me the ticket takers would put our seats together; then the ticket takers said the flight attendants would; and we when we got on the flight, we were informed it was a full flight and someone would need to switch. With bated breath, I sent up a little prayer that someone would find it in their heart to allow my little guys to sit next to me. I had no idea how we’d make it apart for that long. You gave up an aisle seat (an AISLE seat!) and kept this family intact. You didn’t have to do that but your generosity didn’t go unnoticed or under appreciated.

Kid-friendly high tea/Duck boat/whale watch

Dear Day Trippers, 

Now, more often than not, I take day trips, as school schedules tend to get in the way of longer travel vacations. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to high tea, whale watching, city tours, and great amusement parks. As our current times can be bleak with recessions and acts of fear, we rally together to share joy in what we are attending. We ooh and ahh together at the beauty of the whale that miraculously shows us his massive body, laugh at the theatrical shows that transport us magically to another time, and sing silly songs on a Duck bus/boat through the streets of San Francisco. Your smile makes me smile, and my smile lights up my children. Everything is still new to them. We are doing this together and you being involved and participating in this travel experience only makes for my children’s memories to be phenomenal. Thank you for being open to travel. Thank you for experiencing it together. Thank you for your smile.


We would love to hear your stories. What kind stranger would you like to thank for helping you out in your travel time of need?

we ♥ moms:

Your Guide to the best Mother’s Day Brunches

Mother’s Day ideas for every type of mom

Mother’s Day Pinterest Board – great ideas for mom

About the author

Janel Murray is Trekaroo's Assistant Blog Editor and video go-to-gal. Her passion for travel and capturing it on film, pushes her to try and do new things along with her two children. Janel is game for most anything, but if it truly is a game, she will try to win it. Read more about her adventures at her personal blog
9 Responses
  1. Cindi B

    Awww, I just LOVE this one! As a military spouse, too, I have often had to travel as the solo adult with my three little kiddos and I’m ever thankful for those small gestures!

  2. Sharon at Momof6

    My husband works long hours and certainly can’t take off tons of time from work when my kids are out of school for the summer. But I want to travel with them anyway…. I think that it is an amazing opportunity for us to see the country- while they are young and happy to just go! So I too am grateful for the many patient and kind strangers that offer to help a Mom out on her own with 6 kiddos. And I try to return the favor as often as I can!

  3. LiLing

    Dear Fellow Tour Bus Travelers,

    I ordinarily would never think to book myself and three kids on an all day coach tour of Yellowstone Park with 50 other people. But there we were, on just such a tour because the tour company accidentally got our reservation wrong and didn’t have any more private tour buses available for us when we arrived at 7am to begin this tour. (Yes, it’s nearly impossible to get three kids out of the house and onto a tour bus at that ungodly hour.) When my baby who had just started walking got fussy at having to sit still for such a long time strapped to her carseat, you were all incredibly patient and smiled with her throughout the day to reassure her (and me) that we were welcome on this tour with you. I felt so anxious about ruining your tour of Yellowstone Park with my young children who needed constant reminding to lower their voices so everyone could hear what the tour guide was saying. Because of your generosity and understanding my children were able to have an experience of a lifetime seeing Yellowstone Park in the winter.

  4. Katie Bodell

    Dear other moms on my flight,
    Thank you for your kind looks as I boarded the plane with my three babies in tow. Your smiles of encouragement meant the world to me as I was so incredibly nervous about how my kids would behave on the flight. I could see in your eyes that you had been there too, that didn’t judge me, and that we shared a kindred spirit.

  5. Jennifer Parkerson

    Love this post! Reminds me of a trip I took with my now seven year old when he was about two. The flight there was fantastic, despite the crying due to his ears popping, because of the kind stewardess and passengers. The plane ride back was horrible because of a mean stewardess and unkind passengers. So thankful for the kindness of kind people!

  6. Orlando Vacation Rentals

    Lovely article, I always find that most people are very kind, unfortunately it’s the small but vocal minority that aren’t that leave the biggest impression.

    Best wishes, Kate

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