Random act of kindness - Mum flags down car when Christmas outing with baby daughter goes awry
A mum who had spent months seriously ill in hospital and missed her daughter's first Christmas was determined to make the next one extra special but a day trip to Belfast ended with Good Samaritans coming to her aid
"In December 2016 I became acutely ill with bacterial meningitis. I spent several months in Royal Victoria Hospital and the ICU and underwent seven brain surgeries and a series of complications.
"I returned home in March 2017 to my husband and baby girl. When I’d taken sick my daughter was nine months old. During that time she’d began to walk, got more teeth and experienced her first Christmas. I was home just in time to celebrate her first birthday but, obviously having missed so much of her first year, was deeply traumatised and it still chokes me up.
"Following my release from hospital I was unable to walk and had difficulty talking and doing the most basic cognitive exercises, due to an acquired brain injury resulting from all my surgeries.
"Thankfully with time I improved and grew stronger. So much so that by Christmas 2018 I was good enough to drive again and for the first time since my illness, planned to take my daughter to the city to get some Christmas shopping.
"All was going well and we’d parked at Victoria Square and walked into town to get some lunch. My daughter was two and a half by now and a pretty good walker. But as the day went on she began to tire and ask to be lifted. I, having only gained back enough strength to walk myself, wasn’t fit to carry her for long periods and we were staggering it, to allow me to get her and I both back safely to the car.
"I was becoming really agitated and stressed because I was feeling guilty and silly for having not brought her buggy. I was also deeply worried about me taking a seizure. I’d had a seizure since my release from hospital and it had really set me back on the road to recovery. So I’d been working particularly hard to stay seizure free. I was terrified that the onset of tiredness would offset another seizure, which had happened previously.
"I was desperately tired and so was my two year old. We were propping each other up in an attempt to get back to the car as quickly as we could. I realised unless I attempted to get a taxi or car ride there, we wouldn’t make it safely. I’d tried calling for a taxi but couldn’t get a signal on my phone.
"Totally out of character, I waved down a passing car in the centre of Belfast. I often think back now to how differently that could’ve turned out but thankfully I was lucky to meet two very kind and indiscriminate people. I explained briefly that my daughter and I needed a lift to Victoria Square to pick up our car. They didn't know the circumstances but they kindly offered us their vehicle to travel in.
"On the journey there I was able to disclose exactly why we were in such need and extend my sincerest thanks for their help. I think they may have saved both me and my little girl that day with their kind and thoughtful gesture. To them and others it will have appeared meaningless, but to us it meant the world.
"It’s a reminder of the good people in this world; those who just want to help others and share the goodness of life."
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