Thank You, Unknown Women


To the three women in the Walmart parking lot:

Admittedly, it wasn’t my finest moment. I was terrified and my mind was full of images that still bring tears to my eyes. I was the epitome of the Scaredy Cat I wrote about the other day. I had taken a fear and ran with it.  I wasn’t composed. I wasn’t using my inside voice.

I was freaking out.

You see, moments before, my nine year old had asked to return the cart we were using to the cart corral, about 5 car lengths further down the aisle. As he walked away I called out:

“Walk. Watch for cars. And don’t bump any cars with the cart.”

They floated on the air towards him. The same air carried the obligatory “I will” back to me.

I could see him out the side window as I buckled his little brother into his car seat.

I glanced up to see two of you getting into your car next to me. You were laughing and talking. 

LifeDangerQuotes Thank You, Unknown Women

When I looked up again a moment later as I was fastening the last buckle, I saw a few things at once.

- My son was returning to the car, running (running!) behind the parked cars.

- Your car’s engine was running. The lights were on. You were ready to pull out.

- There was another vehicle parked in the space next to your vehicle. You would be unable to see my son until you moved.

Suddenly there was a voice I didn’t recognize – piercing. Shrill.


It was my voice. It sounded strange in my ears and made my throat hurt.

There were confused looks and sudden stopping. 

There was a voice behind me. “Are you OK?”

It was said with kindness. In a blur, I turned to see you, the third woman, with your two little ones circling about you. “So many heart attacks. So little time.”

I realize now that I didn’t answer you. I stood there with my breath coming in gasps and my hand on my heart. I could not form words.

I shakily mouthed, “Sorry” to the two of you in the car. You both smiled back at me.

Through the fog, I returned to our car and sat down. I heard my boys asking if I was OK and repeated assurances from my oldest “It’s OK, Mom. I’m OK.” My tears started to flow as I tried to shake the whatcouldhavehappened images from racing through my mind. 

I am writing this to you to say what was not in my power to say in those moments:

Thank you. 

To the woman who offered me kindness and solidarity in my moment of panic – even though I likely scared you and your children – thank you for checking if I was OK and for letting me know that you understood that childhood exuberance and parking lots can make a terrifying combination. 

And to the women in the car: I saw so clearly the horror unfolding – my nightmare - and I just wanted to stop it. I apologized, but I did not thank you. 

Allow me to say it now.

Thank you for hearing me – and thank you for stopping. 


Kim, AKA The Screamer in the Parking Lot

Have you ever had a parking lot nightmare?  

About Kim Steele

Kim is an early childhood educator turned stay at home mom who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband. Together they are co-piloting two little Captains, Alpha and Bravo. She writes about the funny and the sentimental of everyday life with her boys. Kim is fond of Jane Austen and science fiction and can often be found singing in the car - although she has been known to stop for coffee or chocolate. Connect with Kim on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments Make Me Geek Out

  1. Oh my, that’s so frightening! That’s my nightmare too.
    So glad that everyone’s okay.
    Alison recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Capturing the CoolMy Profile

  2. You told this story so well. I completely felt your panic reading this. Thank God for that woman. And having nothing go wrong. Sending you hugs!-Ashley
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  3. I’m glad that everything worked out OK!!! My boys are older now but I still remember those days when they wanted to help put up the basket and I had to let go and let them – I always felt a huge sense of relief when they were safely back in the car.
    Kim recently posted..Exercise Is NOT One Size Fits AllMy Profile

  4. Oh my gosh. I’m glad everything turned out ok in the end- but what a nightmare indeed. I have those flashes myself- and I’m pretty sure they shave years off of my life and grey hairs to sprout immediately. I’m glad you were helped by those kind women in return.
    Farrah recently posted..The Never Ending Noise: When The Dutch RenovateMy Profile

  5. I haven’t, but I can see how parking lot nightmares happen so easily, and yes, in the blink of an eye. Hoping your heart rate is returned to normal. You wrote this so beautifully and in a way we can all relate to, whether this or something else has happened to us, or whether it just preys on our worst fears always.
    Tamara recently posted..The Truth Is, I’m Just Not Feeling It.My Profile

  6. That is terrifying. I don’t care how loudly you screamed, I am SO glad it was a happy ending.
    Lady Jennie recently posted..Blanquette de VeauMy Profile

  7. My kids know to look out for other cars, but they have no concept of how invisible they are to other drivers!! They make me panic like this every Sunday in the parking garage after church! I can feel your panic so well here, and I’m glad everything turned out okay.
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  8. OMG I got tears in my eyes reading this! So so so glad to know your son is ok. Oh bless your heart!
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  9. Yes, so glad all is well. I love women helping women. I’m sure they understood. xo.
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  10. SCARE-RY!!!! My heart started racing while reading this post. As mom’s we tend to always think about the worse case scenarios…..we can’t help it. Protecting our little one’s is always at the forefront of our minds.
    You’re not alone. Glad that you survived that moment and that it ended positively!
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  11. I have had more than a few scaredy cat, screaming in parking lot moments. I am glad everything worked out.
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  12. I’ve been there. I sometimes think I create scenarios in my head before they even play out but that’s also my paranoia talking. I’m glad he was ok, that you were ok, that the ladies were all aware and caring.
    Arnebya recently posted..Nothing to See Hear (did that on purpose because see, hear)My Profile

    • I have always been worried about this situation happening, which is why I am so full of reminders. All the time. And the ladies were carin – I felt like they understood my reaction, even if I startled them all.

  13. Oh, wow. So many of us can relate to these close calls. Another good chapter in the story of co-piloting! So glad it was a non-event.

    We’re telling stories, laughing and connecting over at Great Moments in Parenting, an open blog to celebrate the agony and ecstasy of having kids. We’d be honored if you submitted an essay, parenting “moment” or photo and we are happy to link back to your site. Thanks so much for considering it!
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  14. This has happened so many times, on both sides. “Childhood exuberance and parking lots can make a terrifying combination.” – love that line. It is so true.

    So thankful that everyone was OK!
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