I have a black VW Beetle (former body style) and the windows fell down in the door this summer. My boyfriend, the sweetheart that he is, says he can fix it; however, he’s torn his shoulder and is on disability for his back, so he really cannot fix it. I have plastic from poster frames taped on my windows. Recently, the drive side plastic got cold, cracked, and the wind ripped it off. Hey, it happens.

I had to take my oldest child an hour away to a Planned Parenthood appointment. I didn’t have time to fix it or we’d be late, so it was a cold drive! I did let her cover up with my car electric blanket and we got there. While she was having her appointment, I had some plastic and was attempting to fix the window by removing the broken plastic remnants and taping up new plastic. While I was fiddling with the plastic and the packing tape, two young women walked out of the nail salon and walked toward a large black SUV that was two parking spots over from me and my Bug.

The two women, mid 20’s and stylishly dressed, slowed down to take in what I was doing. I dressed comfortably, wearing sweat pants, tennis shoes, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. I had done my hair and makeup, but nothing fancy. I guess no one taught them to whisper quietly, so I heard EVERYTHING they said.

“Omigod, girl, what is this lady doing?” the blonde said.

“I don’t even know. Do you think she lives in that car?” the blonde’s dark-haired friend asked.

The blonde took a sip of her iced coffee. “Lord, probably. And she’s probably on food stamps.”

As they went to their prospective sides of the vehicle, I acknowledged them and said, “Hey, how are you all?” I was taping up the plastic.

“Hiya,” the blonde said, not even bothering to look at me as she climbed into the driver’s side.

“Oh, by the way,” I said. “I heard everything you all said.”

They both froze, wide-eyed and staring at me. They did not say a word. They were just sitting in that large SUV, staring at me like deer in headlights.

I sighed. “You know, that wasn’t nice. You don’t know my situation at all.”

They shut their doors simultaneously, still looking at me. The blonde started the vehicle and then they wouldn’t look at me as they drove away. No eye contact at all. I shook my head and sighed again. I silently forgave their ignorance. They didn’t have the eye-opening perspective I did.

I fixed the plastic and the drive back was much warmer and quieter. As we went to go eat some lunch at the local Penn Station Subs, my daughter also voiced her disdain for the condition of my Bug. I reminded her that it just got her to her appointment safely and that it was my paid-for clunker. She shifted around embarrassed. When we were done with our lunch, she wanted to make sure that the tape was good, so she reinforced it for me. I thanked her and hugged her and we drove back home.

Please be kind, always, even when responding to unkindness. Unkindness is a weakness. Kindness is a strength. However, calling someone out, in a non-threatening manner, is also a strength. Sometimes people just need to be gently reminded. Love and light!