A Stranger's Kindness
Hey there Ri¢hsters,
If you're anything like me (and most people, now that I think about it), you probably hate the DMV. I stopped by this week to run a couple errands and it wasn't any different. As a matter of fact, it was worse than expected because I had to bring the kids. They were perfect, but the overall experience-- not so much. After persevering through a two-hour wait, I ended up having a mommy-meltdown in the DMV parking lot. I left upset, without resolving what I went for, and pissed that I'd wasted some valuable kid-nap time. Luckily God sent two strangers to bring me a bit of comfort and kindness-- eventualy leading to this post! :)
It all started at the Newark DMV. I went there to quickly resolve a parking ticket and change my address. Should've be eneasy squeez-y, right? I got the ticket part out of the way quickly and then headed over to the other side to change the address on my license. Yes, I know we moved 2 months ago and it probably should've ben done a while ago; but you see, the way my mom-of-two life is set up... I just couldn't be bothered. lol
When I went to the line to get the address change started, I saw that the line already had over 60 people in it. And if you've ever been to the DMV in Newark you already know you're spending half the day in there. Having a toddler and an infant with me (Arria still hadn't eaten lunch yet)-- I couldn't. With that in mind, I left the Newark DMV and made my way over to the one in Springfield because they supposedly worked faster.
When I got there the situation was no different. Apparently the lunch hour had just started. With many employees taking their lunch breaks, what would have been a seemingly quick process ended up taking hours. There were at least 3 points during my 2-hour stay where I just considered leaving-- but I'd already paid for parking, stuck it out through the 90 degree heat with a baby strapped on; and I'd already put in more than 30 minutes of waiting-- so I was in it to win it!
By the time I made it to the check-in window, I couldn't help but smile as I envisioned leaving the DMV with my new license in hand. I must have jinxed myself. I was so happy, only to have my bubble bursted at the document window.
Window lady: "Hi. What are you here for today?"
Me: "Change of address."
Window lady: "Do you have your 6 points?"
Me: "I have a utility bill in my name with my new address on it."
Window lady: "You need to have 4 of the 6 points today in order to get processed."
At this point I felt myself getting upset, but I tried to maintain a calm voice.
Me: "But I called this morning and spoke with someone who told me I only needed a utility with the current address. I specifically called to make sure so something like this didn't happen."
Window lady: "Trenton doesn't know what they're talking about."
Window lady:"Do you have your original license in good standing?"
Window lady: "Do you have a debit card with your name on it?"
Window lady: "Do you have your medical insurance card on you?"
At this point I felt a smile beginning to creep on my face. Four out of six-- success was on the horizon! I started laughing.
Window lady: "See, you were about to get all upset for no reason."
Me: "You riiiiiiiight!"
Two seconds later the window lady told me I still couldn't be processed. Apparently since I never changed my last name to match my husband's, my insurance card couldn't be used as a form of identification (he's the policy holder). That is, unless I also had our marriage license on hand for review. Uggggggghhhh I hate that society still forces us into that antiquated sexist practice. :(
I felt myself getting upset again, but the window lady and I had already shared a moment-- so I couldn't express my frustration towards her. Besides, she was really nice. lol She suggested that I go speak with the supervisor because a supervisor could sign of on an instance like this.
I walked over to see the supervisor. To cut this part of the story short, she was a little biaaaatch. And I say this, because of how she spoke to me (especially as it relates to me bringing my kids.)
...This post is getting longer than I expected. As I'm typing this I wish I would have made a video instead. (sorry!) :(
I tried to keep a calm demeanor as I left the building, but at that point I was steaming! I'd been there so long that BOTH kids had taken a nap and were now awake. I wasted that valuable me-time for no reason. Ya'll know what I'm talking about. MY PRECIOUS ME-TIME!!!!
That face you give when you've been at the DMV and they tell you to come back again the next day... with BOTH your kids.
It's days like this that really I miss my kickboxing membership. I would've worked out my frustrations on the bag. I walked over to the car, trying to measure out my breaths in order to keep from doing what I wanted to do most-- which was scream.
I got to the car and realized that I didn't have my keys on me. They must be inside. So I went back and asked the front desk if anyone had turned in a set of missing keys. They were there. Great!
As I turned around to leave, the lady at the reception desk and the officer-on-duty jokingly asked me: "Heyyyyy, are you all done for the day? Were you able to get it all done?" They'd been witnesses to my two hour struggle-wait. We'd also shared a moment earlier in the day; the officer helped me watch the kids while I ran out to feed the meter.
I explained the insurance card and last name situation. They told me to run home and come back before the end of day so I wouldn't have to wait in line; but
at this point I'd had it. As I tried to explain, I felt my voice start to crack and a pool of tears swelling up in my eyes. I was only able to make out this broken reply. "No, it's okay. I don't think I'm going to come back today." I started wheeling the stroller towards the door. Another minute in there and the entire building would bear witness to my ugly Kimmie cry.
I moved as fast as my baby-laden body would allow, and finally made it across the street before hearing someone yell, "Please don't leave!" I kept walking, acted like I didn't hear. Before I knew it, I saw the officer run across the street to catch up with me. In that moment I lost it. I started sobbing, and another woman (who also happened to have an infant with her) stopped to see if there was anything that she could do to help. I told them both no, and thanked them for their concern. I verbally acknowledged that it really wasn't a big deal and that in 15 minutes I would probably be fine. But in that moment I was just hot and bothered having wasted so much precious time, and with nothing to show for it.
The two women stood there. They listened. They offered hugs. And one of them (who later introduced herself as Mary), even offered to come back the next day to hang out with me and help look after the kids. I told her it wasn't necessary and that I appreciated the offer.
I'm sure that there are plenty of other fine details of the day's happening leading up to that moment; but what I want to focus on is how those two women (Melissa and Mary-- I called them M&M) showed up for me. I didn't know them from anywhere, and they could have just seen me in my mommy-meltdown and walked by without saying a word... but they didn't. They listened to me vent. By the time I'd completed my rant and we'd ended our conversation, I was laughing. We exchanged hugs and information before we each went our separate ways.
I know this probably doesn't seem like much to some of you reading this (and again, sorry it's so long, lol)-- but for me it was exactly what I needed in that moment. Even if it came in the form of two complete strangers. I was comforted and it really set me back in a good place to carry on through the rest of my day.
I say all this to say, there is nothing strange about strangers. I believe that God sent those women to comfort me: why? I have no idea, but I believe everything happens for a reason. I also want to add that when you see someone who seems like they're going through something (even if they are a stranger) please take the time to engage with them. Comfort them, let them know that they are seen, that they are loved, and they hold value in the world. You never know just how simple kindness-- the flash of a smile, or a quick conversation-- can uplift someone's spirit or potentially change a life.
Okay, so I'm done rambling. God loves me, be kind, blarrr blarrr blahhhh. Next time I promise story time will come in the form of a video. haha
Until then, #LiveRi¢h and Happy Dream Chasing!
Update: I went back the next day with all my papers. Made it through processing right before they closed at 5:30.... only to find out that I needed to re-take my photo, and that I had to take of my head wrap. I wasn't ready. I didn't have my brows drawn on. Shoot, I wasn't even wearing chapstick or mascara! Picture wasn't happening. I had to come in again the next day. :-C
UPDATE #2: I went into the DMV again the next day. Barely made it through processing on time (even though I got there almost a full hour before they closed). I washed my hair the night before, so my fro was looking moisturized and poppin'. I even managed to put on some lipstick. I was feeling cute up until I walked up to the receptionist's booth. She told me that I probably wouldn't be able to get anything done before they closed at 1. The devil is a liar, and God said the 3rd times a charm... because I FINALLY GOT everything done!!! :) New addy, new pic, and a breakdown later, here's my new license! lol