Judge not...

I was waiting in the after school pick-up line the other day. You know, the line of cars that is always a mile long - no matter how early you come. I happened to be near the front of the line (a rarity, let me tell you) and noticed a woman pull her mini-van up and park it in the handicapped space. She got out, grabbed her Louis Vuitton bag and sashayed herself into the school - her sparkly mules clicking as she walked. At first I made nothing of it, but then I started to look at her van. There was no handicapped sticker hanging from the rear view mirror. There were no handicapped plates. Clearly, at the elementary school, she was not here to pick up her elderly father. She had parked herself right next to the front door and popped in to pick up her child. Because waiting in line like the rest of us is, well, beneath her.

As I sat there thinking about this, I started to get annoyed. There are a lot of people here in So Cal that seem to have the attitude that they are busier and more important than everyone else. You know who I'm talking about - the ones that honk at you for not going 90 on the freeway or roll their eyes and take deep breaths when you're in front of them with your children at the checkout line in the grocery store. I judged this woman to be just that type. I mean, who did she think she was? We're all out here waiting in line for our kids- taking our turn. It just seemed so rude to me. The more I thought about it, the more bugged I got. I even half considered calling the school and letting them know that someone was blocking the handicapped space illegally.

I didn't do that.

And thank goodness.

For a few minutes later, she came back out of the school, and in her hand she held her son's backpack - the stylish handbag no longer her only accessory. And her son was walking right next to her - cheerfully giving an account of his day. He had a mop of dark hair and freckles splashed across his nose.

He could have been just like my kids.

Only there was no missing it. His knees were bent the wrong way on tiny, crippled legs. His arms were supported by two canes that he used to hold himself up and maneuver slowly to that front-row handicapped parking spot.

And here I sat, self-righteously judging a situation that I knew nothing about. How many times do I do this in my life? How many times do I see only what I want to see and miss the bigger picture? How many times do I fail to give the benefit of the doubt to strangers I meet on the street? Is this who I have become?

This whole experience has made me want to change that. The bottom line is that YOU NEVER KNOW. Never judge anyone unless you've walked a mile in their shoes, so the saying goes.

I'm so humbled. I'll be working on this one.