Here’s kind of a sad story from when I was unemployed, recently dumped, and with a new baby. As you can imagine, money was very tight. I would take my daughter to stores and malls just to get out of the monotony of being at home. I know parks sounds like a good idea, but the bathrooms in the parks around here are usually pretty disgusting and it’s just very hot in the summer.
So off to the malls we went. I could push her in the stroller. She would look at all the toys in various stores. And most malls have a kids play area somewhere. I’d sit and let her crawl or walk around and play with the other kids. Kind of like an indoor park.
There’s another thing some malls have and also a few stores and that’s those kid rides where you put in quarters and the ride moves back and forth and maybe makes some noise (like those pictured above). They are like $0.75-$1.50 depending on the ride. And this is where I realized I had reached a whole new low. I knew I’d hit my lowest point yet, but the moment I realized I couldn’t afford to spend 75 cents on a pink ice cream truck ride for my daughter is the moment I realized just the level of failure I’d reached.
I would sit on a nearby chair and watch her just move around the different rides pretending they would move. And sometimes another kid would come by and get on the same ride my daughter was playing on. Their parents right behind them quarters at the ready. I would move to take my daughter away so the kid could have his fun. And the parents would just wave me away and let them ride together. Sometimes a random stranger, without kids, would walk by and offer me some quarters to put in the ride.
I was so incredibly grateful for that as I watched my daughter’s face light up when the thing would start moving and the lights would come on. I don’t care if they felt sorry for me or pitied me or whatever led them to give my daughter those happy moments. I don’t care however lost or pathetic I might have looked sitting there. Thank you so much for those quarters. Thank you.