The girls and I had the most incredible experience today. We set off early this morning to explore the zoo. By all accounts it was just another ordinary day but something extraordinary was about to happen. We parked and I started loading the stroller and grabbed the baby from the car. A woman stopped at the back of the car with her son in his stroller. We said ‘hello’ and she asked if she could buy our girl’s tickets. I was a little puzzled and said, ‘oh no you don’t need to do that, we have a pass’.
“Well”, she said, “can you use it somewhere else in the zoo”?
I’m still a little confused and still trying to get her to keep her money. We looked to be about the same age, how can I convince her that she should keep her money?
“Can I tell you why”, she said. “Okay”, I replied and she very confidently started to tell me about her daughter.
“I had a daughter that was 10 months old when she died of cancer. She would be five today. I like to do nice things for others since she’s not able to come with us today. She had red hair and I noticed your daughter's red hair that reminded me of her.”
My mommas heart broke into a million pieces for her. I stepped between the strollers and kids and just hugged her…and hugged her some more.
I paused, collected my thoughts and did what seemed best, I prayed with her. Right there in the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo parking lot, both of us bowing our heads, holding hands. I thanked the Lord for Ellen, her daughter Charlotte who is no longer here on this earth, and her son Gideon in the stroller.
I then accepted her twenty dollars and we parted ways and headed to the gate. The girls had so many questions about Charlotte that I obviously couldn’t answer but we knew one thing for sure, the dynamics of our morning just changed. Upon arriving at the gate we had decided amongst us that we would spend the twenty dollars on a ride pass. Today we ride for Charlotte!!
We had the best time on the boat ride, carousel, and train. At each ride the girls would say, “we ride for Charlotte”. As our trip was winding down we started our exit through the gift shop. The girls and I decided early on we couldn’t leave without getting something that would remind us of Charlotte and our trip today. We found a charm bracelet that had a lion with a thought bubble that says, "Be Fearless". How appropriate, I'll wear it and remember the lesson learned today! Thank you Ellen for your courage and the way you blessed our family today.
If you’ve visited our online ministry page you’ve probably heard us say, “Stories Change Stories”. Well, her story has forever changed my life. I’ll work on better receiving, whether it be a compliment, gifts, help...you name it! Life is better done together! ❤️