A week ago, I was at the airport with some time to kill. I walked around a bit and randomly found spots to hang out with Zoe. Seated in a chair, talking to Zoe, I was approached by a man who asked me how I handled it. I assumed he meant traveling with a baby, so I said, “I’ve done it before.” But then he went on to ask about what I needed to do to prepare. And I finally caught on that he wanted to know about what it takes to prepare for a baby.
I pause here to remark that I was caught off guard by this conversation. It’s not like I sat down near him and he was politely trying to strike up a dialogue. No, out of all the empty seats, he sat down and immediately started asking me questions. Maybe it was because I was alone with Zoe; but, I was a little nervous. It, actually, crossed my mind that he was either hitting on me or trying to distract me so one of his buddies could take my purse or something.
It’s not every day that I get approached by strangers in this way. He had an accent – I’m not sure where he was from; but, perhaps it’s a cultural thing? I asked my husband if he would go up to a strange woman at an airport and start asking about her baby. He didn’t need to reply – I know the answer. He would never do such a thing…
Anyway, when I let my guard down, I realized that he was genuinely interested (while watching basketball out of the corner of his eye on the TV above my head) in preparing for a child. He asked me what types of things he needed to get. I immediately said a car seat. When he said he didn’t have a car, it made me think a little… then I asked if he ever took a taxi. A car seat seems like a good idea for anyone – just in case. What if he wants to take the baby in a friend’s car…
Besides a car seat, I suggested blankets and a baby carrier. He asked about diapers and food. I thought to myself, ‘well, DUH, why didn’t I think of those?’ I proceeded to explain that he could use cloth diapers, which would save him a lot of money. And then I told him about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Then, I probed to find out that he and his girlfriend were quite surprised by the news of the pregnancy. He seemed a little uncomfortable, but really trying to do the right thing by his girlfriend and baby. I also learned that he worked at the airport and was early for his shift, so he was waiting around in the terminal. All of a sudden he yawned, decided he needed some coffee, and left.
As a woman traveling alone, I am usually very cautious – especially when I have Zoe with me. Any woman, who has even just walked alone down a quiet city street and heard someone behind her, knows what I mean. It’s a little nerve-racking. So while in today’s world we have to be careful – I’d glad that beyond the caution there was a sincere and meaningful conversation.
Have you had any random conversations with strangers lately?