Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let's Do Something Really Wonderful

I'm just going to come right out and ask you to help me. 

I am so full of anger and sadness right now and I really need to channel this emotion into something uplifting and inspirational.  I truly believe we can do something transformative if you will help.

So, if you are willing to take a moment to help me reach out to someone who really needs it, then please read about my commute home from work today and then decide whether you will take a short moment to help me do something really wonderful.

I know most of you read my blog and carry on.  But today I'm asking from the bottom of my heart for you to read today's post and then leave a comment.  And then forward a link to my blog to anyone else that you think would be willing to help me out.

I want to collect as many messages of support as possible for a woman I met on my train ride home from work today.  This is why:

I got on the train today just in the nick of time.  I usually sit much closer to the front of the train, but today I must have been running behind, and I only got as far as the accessibility coach - the designated car for people with mobility issues and people with strollers.  I didn't expect to get a seat, but as I walked on, I saw an empty spot beside a sweet little girl.

I noticed her mom and her sister were sitting across from her with a third little baby girl in a stroller.  I quickly asked the woman if she minded if I sat with them, and she gestured for me to sit down and said something along the lines of, "as long as you can handle the shrieking" and with a smile she explained to me that her 11 month old daughter had just learned a new sound and was practising it with verve!  I smiled and assured her I could tune out just about anything with 2 young children of my own at home.

I settled in and pulled some reading out of my bag for the trip home.  Within minutes, I felt a sweet little leg resting on my knee.  I peeked over my paper and saw the little baby resting her foot on my leg.  I couldn't resist a smile and a short game of 'peekaboo'.  I got some simply beautiful smiles - heart melting ones!

Next thing I knew, the little girl beside me couldn't help giggling about her sister using me as an ottoman and before I knew it, my seatmate and I had become fast friends.  Well, the oldest little girl who was sitting across from us was not one to be left out and she jumped right into the conversation - no holds barred.  The two of them delighted in telling me their names, asking me what my name was, telling me where they were going, telling me where they came from, and asking me how to spell my name.

It was exhilarating.

I often find the train ride to and from work to be depressing - train cars full of people quietly trundling to and from work - day in and day out.  These sweet little munchkins were the absolute highlight of my day... and it should be noted that I had a cupcake today!  (I need to cut SOME of my anger with a bit of humour!)

These two girls - Jasmine and Molly - were beautiful both inside and out.  They proudly showed me the barrettes and elastics they had chosen together to wear that day.  They both nearly exploded with pride as they demonstrated that they could do up their shoes themselves.

Their mother and I got chatting as well and I found out that they had just arrived in Canada from Ireland a month ago and she and her husband and 3 girls were doing their best to get settled in, adjust to a new country, new surroundings... new everything!  On this particular day, this woman was taking Jasmine, her eldest daughter, to her Irish dancing class.

I didn't bother to tell her that I've had my daughter for 4 years, have never moved, and it STILL took me 4 years to enroll her in swimming lessons.  This woman was instantly amazing in my eyes.  Here she is in a new country, managing 3 young girls on her own during the day, and she has managed to get her child signed up for dance lessons in under 4 weeks!  I was in the presence of an extraordinary woman.

The girls were particularly interested in my non-Irish accent and in my fascination with their vernacular.  For example, Molly - the 3 year old - said to Jasmine, "can I please have that lil' gal with the purple hat?"  She was referring to one of the three little dolls that Jasmine had pulled out of her bag to play with - her eye on me the whole time to see what my reaction would be to her dolls (I of course made a huge deal about how cute they were!).  It was subtle, but the word 'gal' is just not one that most 3 year old girls that I know would use.

The girls and their mother seemed pleased to be able to explain to me that Jasmine had a different Irish accent than did Molly or her mother because Jasmine was raised in a different part of the country than her sister.

The more I listened, the more they wanted to share.  The girls oohed and ahhed over the townhouses along the railway line, remarked many times that I was funny, pored over pictures of my kids while memorizing their names, and gave me their separate versions of what the plane ride from Ireland to Canada was like.  Apparently when you are Jasmine and you are 6 years old, the trip goes like this:

"I didn't sleep one bit all the way here.  First of all, we left Ireland and flew 10 minutes to England, and then we flew 8 minutes from England to here."

Apparently if you are 3 years old and your name is Molly, you sleep the whole way.  :-)

The whole time, I chatted away with their mother and did my best to help her keep the kids occupied while she attended to her youngest.  Little Annabelle, "Belle" for short, was a normal 11 month old baby, shrieking regularly to test out the new sound she could make.  Her mom was making a never ending effort to keep Belle quiet.  She had several soothers on hand, a continuous supply of Cheerios, a bottle and some toys, and used everything in her arsenal to be respectful of the other passengers and keep Belle as quiet as she could.

If you are a parent, though, you will know that this can sometimes be a completely futile endeavour.  Especially when they are learning to communicate, babies can be especially persistent and definite about their desire to 'talk'.

We got chatting about how hard it was to keep babies quiet, and she shared her observation that in Canada it seems as though the expectation is that babies should be quiet, while in Ireland, people are generally more accepting of babies and children, and to have young ones chatting and babbling away in public is simply not a big deal.  All the while, she gently reminded her girls to keep their voices down and did her best to keep the baby distracted.

I commented to her that I was pretty certain that most people - even if they find the noise level irritating - understand that sometimes you just can't help that babies can be loud.

And then it happened.

A man behind us loudly huffed and rattled his paper and commented for all to hear that, "This is ridiculous! Why don't you do something."  To her credit, my new friend (and it's such a shame that I never did learn what her name was) stood up, looked him in the eye, and asked, "What would you have me do?"  He just loudly sighed.  She went on to ask him, "Would you prefer I clamp my hand over her face?" to which he said, "That would be a good start".

She sat down, while I sat there in complete shock.  I had never witnessed anything like this.  My mind was screaming at me to turn around and say something to him, but I was just stunned.

Just as I turned to say something to her, another woman behind her stood up and said to him, "This is a child friendly train, and if you don't like it, maybe you should leave."  Then she looked at the mother and said loudly, "I support you."  Thankfully, there was some soft clapping and nods of agreement around us.

I turned briefly to look at the man, and then turned back to say something to the mother, only to find her in tears. Her lip was quivering and she was quietly dabbing her eyes with a tissue.  She quietly cried as I reached over and touched her knee, tried to reassure her, and asked her if she wanted me to go talk to him.  She shook her head, but couldn't talk.  I was just about to turn around to congratulate this neanderthal on reducing a mother of three small children to tears when Jasmine and Molly started to ask questions and try to comfort their mother.

Jasmine asked me, "Why did that man yell at our Mum?"  Molly looked at me with worry and asked, "Is that man angry at our Mum?  Does he not like Belle?"

Jasmine rubbed her mother's shoulder quietly and kept asking her why she was crying.

Then Molly looked at me with a quivering lip and asked me, "Will they take Annabelle from us?"

The tears instantly streamed down my face.  I didn't dare confront this man for fear of upsetting these sweet little girls any more, but I could barely see straight from rage.

This woman had just as much right to be on a train as anyone else did.  She was in the accessibility car - exactly where she should be with a stroller and young kids.  She couldn't move to a different car - he could.

Anyone who has been a parent, or has spent any amount of time with small children must know how completely draining it can be when you are caring for little ones.  And travelling with them in public practically requires a strategic planning document!

But this woman isn't just a mother (and that alone is reason to show some empathy), but she is a person, and I firmly believe that we are all just people stuck together here on this big ball of dirt hurtling through the sky.  NONE of us is better than the other, and we are all deserving of compassion and empathy.

This poor woman could not regain her composure for the rest of her trip.  She could not utter one more word to me or to her children.  I felt like I could feel her heart breaking and her faith in people dissolving.

Jasmine and Molly asked if I thought people didn't like Belle, and I said as loudly as I could muster through the tears, "No... she's just perfect.  You're all just perfect."

When they got to their stop, the woman was finally able to say, "It was nice to meet you," and she and her children left the train.  As they walked past the man, he just laughed at her.  I couldn't even compose myself to say one word to him.

One moment I was having the most life-affirming, uplifting moment I'd had in my life.  People from different corners of the world connecting like old friends.

And the next, the two of us are in tears, and the children are completely confused and scared.  Something is seriously not right in this world if that's how some people think they can treat others.

I got off the train at my stop, walked to my car, got in and burst into tears.  Partly with shame that I couldn't bring myself to stand up to him, and partly in empathy as a mom who had just seen a fellow mother's spirit completely decimated.

As I sat there, I knew I wanted to do something to restore this woman's spirit.  To assure her that not everyone is a complete boor in Canada.  To comfort her in some way and help make sure that every time she gets on that train that she doesn't have to think about the man who would have her muzzle an infant rather than disturb his train trip... that instead she could think about all the people out there who can relate to her, and who can empathize with her, and who support her.

So, that is why I am asking you to PLEASE leave a message of support, or empathy, or understanding, or even just a virtual hug for this woman.  You don't even need to leave your name - you can leave a message anonymously.  Just scroll down to where it says "Post a Comment" and leave your comment in the box below (if you don't see a box, then click where it indicates the number of comments left on the post so far). Then just click on the drop down menu and select 'anonymous' if you'd like, or if you want to leave your name, just select 'name/URL' and type in your name (you can ignore the URL part - just leave it blank).  Then click "post comment". 

And then, if you are inclined to do more, think about asking others to read this and do the same.

I am going to wait for her on the accessibility car next Tuesday and hopefully I can show her that there are still some good people out there who think she's doing a great job. 

So... let's see what we can do in one week.  I have never done anything like this before in my life, but I have also never before felt more strongly about something. 

This life is tough enough... let's do something really wonderful together.

117 comments:

  1. Kirsten: This is the first complete blog of yours that I have read and it is wonderful. I hope you get lots of comments and support. I can feel your frustration but hopefully next Tues. you can show this woman and her children that many Canadian really do care and are wonderful people.

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  2. I would give a virtual hug, or a real hug, any day! My heart goes out to her. Evil begets evil and love begets love... which one will you choose to pass on today?

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  3. What an incredible story! I hung onto every word. You just have to feel sorry for that man. The world needs more people like you and the family you met....not more of the negative attitudes shown by that man. Hugs to your new friends! xo

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  4. Hey Kirbo,
    I sincerely hope the woman is on the train again next week and Jasmine's feelings toward her dance class are not permanently negative because of this experience.
    I understand that people always have opinions and that people will always make mistakes, but it still hurts me that people can be so cruel. I can accept that in a moment of frustration the man made his comment. There are definitely days when I have millions of rude comments flying around my head (and unfortunately one slips out ever now and then) but it is the laughing at the family's pain as they get off the train that really emphasizes how cruel people can be. I think that man needs a lesson on how to be Canadian.
    I am glad that another woman was able to stand and make a comment at the time and that people were supportive and I am hopeful that when the mother is able to see past the pain of the man's comment and remember that he was just one person and his opinion was definitely NOT shared by all!

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  5. Wow. I don't think I've ever read your blog & silently cried in sadness....that man was beyond horrid & I hope you see that woman again & let her know that not all Canadians (and all respectable humans with manners & decency) are not like that....I feel heartbroken to hear that another human being could be treated in such a malicious way by a stranger...who had the damned audacity to laugh & someone else's pain!! (I'm soooo angry!!)...I only wish that the GO train "host" (what are they called??) Had overheard the exchange & had said something to that (insert explitive here) too...

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  6. Thanks for posting Kirsten. Virtual hugs to her. You are right travelling with kids is a challenge and you just do your best and it sounds like this women was doing an amazing job and had three amazing little girls. Hope you see her on Tuesday so you can let her know we all support her....

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  7. It's a shame that the man lives such a miserable life that he can't appreciate the giggle of a child or an innocent squawk (or two, or more) of an infant. I hope that the sweet Irish family meet enough Canadians to realize that he is the exception not the rule. I like to think that most of us have the common decency to exhibit politeness, even if we are having a bad day. As you mentioned he could very easily have gone to another car (as I have done in the past when sitting across from a raucous group).
    Welcome to Canada Jasmine, Molly, Belle and Mummy. Please rest assured that the rest of us are much better behaved.

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  8. Sounds like that guy is a lonely curmudgeon. Hopefully your friend won't think all Canadians are like this. I've never heard of such behaviour! The woman and her family sound lovely and I know they'll settle in and make many great friends.
    Cathy

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  9. It is absolutely amazing that you took the time to write this blog and to encourage support for this brave young woman and her children. I commute every day and am constantly awed by the rudeness - however - I have never seen anything like that. Our children are our greatest resource and parenting is the most important thing anyone is going to do in this life. I applaud this women whom I don't even know - on so many levels.
    FYI - I had a similar "judgemental experience" over my children over 15 years ago and when I think about it today it still smarts and can bring me to tears. I wish I had had someone like you witness it to help ME put it in perspective.
    Good on you Kirsten!

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  10. Sending Irish Mom a huge hug. Canada is a wonderful place to raise a family and I hope that you have more interactions with happy people than cranky ones.

    Who knows that kind of day the cranky man was having. He was absolutely wrong to lash out but I think he needs a hug too.

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  11. Virtual hugs from Charlotte and me. I can't believe the audacity of that man, to behave so stupidly to a woman and her children. Canadians are nicer than this!

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  12. Dear Irish Friend,
    Yes, I said Friend and I meant precisely that. You have chosen, for whatever reason, to come to Canada, and call this nation 'home'. It is my home too, and that alone gives us enough to make the word 'friend' appropriate. But we have something else in common: I, too, have had the experience of an ignorant, rude boor saying ignorant, rude, boorish things to me; and I, too, have been hurt by those words.

    Please know that this creature DOES NOT represent Canada, nor Canadians. We are so happy to welcome you home, and we want you to feel, and know, that you are wanted here! On behalf of all good and decent Canadians, I apologize to you for this terrible man's hurtful words. I don't imagine that you will forget them very easily or quickly, but I do hope that you will recognize them for what they are: the verbal attack of a pathetic man who does NOT represent the rest of us!

    Welcome to Canada, and know that somebody in Kitchener-Waterloo is sending you hugs and best wishes as you settle into your new home. We're glad you are here, and welcome you with open arms!

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  13. Oh Kirsten, I can't believe how fortunate you were to meet such a wonderful women. People like her are my hero. This gentleman obviously doesn't have a whole lot of love in his life to have treated her and her children like that. I was on the phone with service Canada and reading this while on hold. By the time the woman answered the phone I couldnt speak. I hope this wonderful woman understands that there is NOTHINGwrong with her or her perfect children and that the gentleman is the one who should be ashamed of himself. HUGE VIRTUAL HUGS for her and her kids and a hope to meet them one day. Kendra Frey.

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  14. Always proud of you Kirsten,but never more than Today.
    You represent the best of our great country.
    I sure hope your Irish foriend is there next Tuesday.

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  15. Kirsten,
    You just have to feel sorry for people like that. There is something in his life that he is unhappy about and chose to take it out on a total stranger! Completely wrong and heartbreaking. But feel sorry for him that he doesn't have the happiness in his life that he couldn't just smile at 3 beautiful children!
    Sending only positive energy to you and that mother and her girls! xx

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  16. A big hug to this Mom and her children. It is so difficult to erase such a moment (but this is a good start). That fool of a man likely has no idea or ever will. Clueless, unfortunate and lonely- it is sad that such a person (and they are out there) can inflict so much damage. I can guarantee Kirsten that others around you felt the same way. Please pass along our thoughts and warm wishes to this young family. This Mom, like many, is a super-human with wonderful children with incredible sprirt, vibrancy, and (frequency!) Life is not worth tempering for the look (or words) of a dark stranger.

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  17. Kirsten, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
    Perhaps this horrible exchange and your desire to do something about it will reinforce for this lovely woman that there are more good people than bad in this country.
    I think she's as lucky to have met you, as you were to meet her!
    I hope you cross paths again, and are able to show her the outpouring of support for her and her girls!
    And, I say, shriek away little Annabelle— you have as much right as any other human to voice your opinion!!! :)

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  18. Kirsten, you have such a big heart. This is a wonderful thing you are doing for her. Let her know that she is a great mother and person. The man should have moved, she was in the correct area. Welcoming her and her family to Canada....giving a "virtual hug" to her and her children.

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  19. Hi Kristen, you're amazing.
    You just made me cried and to tell you the truth I would have said something to that awful man in an instant. I would have react like a lioness and make him either move or apologies for what he did. I do hope that you’ll meet this wonderful mother again, so you’ll have the chance to tell her that she’s welcome to this country and she shouldn’t take to her heart all the nonsense that ignorant man was telling her. She’s “home” now and nobody has the right to talk with her or her children like that.
    All the best to her and you.
    Love, Ana Maria.

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  20. Kirsten the mother has already seen the good Canadian in you, you took the time in your day to acknowledge her children and herself and not push them off or ignore them, and that simple little gesture of letting her know you were on her side probably ment alot to here. As a parent of 2 and a childcare worker myself I always relish in the sounds and noises that children make, they are always so honest and forthcoming, but a little smile, a simpel I love you mom can just about melt your heart at any given time.
    I hope that you and your friend meet again and if not I am sure she is thinking of the one friend she made on that train and how endearing you were to her children.

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  21. Kirsten, this story is truely one that touches my heart. As an Early Childhood Educator I work with lots of children. It seems as though you made such a positive impression on Molly and Jasmine that you can only hope that they'll remember you and how you made them feel on the train. I would hope that this experience was not traumatic for this new family that they would no longer take the train. I can not imagine being in your position and commend you for taking the initiative to show this family (and mother especially) how much you support her and the hard work that she is doing. Unfortunately it takes all kinds of people to make a world and the rude man had no place to comment the way he did. All the best in your efforts to find this family again, virtual hug to you all.

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  22. First off Kirsten, you have a real talent for writing. I read, felt and enjoyed every emotion and it breaks my heart that some dude who probably has a wife and children at home could be such a DB. It doesn’t compute how someone could treat a woman and young girls like that and have no regard for their feelings. It’s one thing to say something in a huff, but another thing to laugh about after you see hers and her children’s reaction. It’s an insult! I’ve always had a soft spot for moms and their children and now after having my little pumpkin, I am even more crazy for sweet little children and I salute all good mom’s because I know how much they sacrifice and how much they give especially when no one is watching. I hope that you run into this lady again and she reads these comments and trusts with her heart that most people are good and caring. Many of us have been in her shoes or will one day wear her shoes and understands that moms wear so many hats in the space of minutes just to keep their children contented. I would just like to say to our newcomers: Welcome to Canada and I hope that you will meet more amazing people and one of these days I hope you will think of this as your second home.

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  23. When Kirsten came home and told me this story last night I was instantly disgusted by what I had heard. To reduce a mother with three very young children to tears is bad enough. To mock her leaving the train? That is where this goes from someone who is frustrated, lashes out and regrets it afterward to someone who is outright cruel. However, we can use this as an opportunity to show our new friend that, yes, there are always boorish neanderthals with low self-esteem that will say and do remarkably ignorant things. But, for every one of them, there are large groups of people that know that type of behavior is wrong and support her in this exchange. He is nothing short of a bully compensating for something he is lacking in his life. Or possibly his pants. You may edit that last part out.

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  24. To your Irish Friend.
    Unfortunately there are jerks in this world and you may have run into the president of that group. His behaviour is disgusting and I know of no one that would disagree. I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart that you had to experience such behaviour. I am proud of my country. I believe in my country. Thank you for choosing to be a part of this country to make it better and weed these guys out! You sound loving and caring and that is something to be proud of. Hugs to your 3 wonderful children! Tharen

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  25. Dear Irish Friend

    I pity that man who snapped at you. He is probably a lonely old miser. having children of my own, i know how hard it is to deal with not only the kids!, but with miserable people as well. Karma is a turd, but only if you are one too =)

    keep doin your thang!! <3

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  26. Marcia, Peterborough, OntarioJuly 27, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    To help someone in this way by sharing this story is amazing. We all take our freedom to say what we please, when we please too lightly without acknowledging others. I wish I lived closer to get on the train with you and hug her in person.

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  27. Hey Kirsten, its Julie.
    Can I ride with you next Tuesday? Because while you are sharing these comments with the beautiful mother, I have something to say to a certain ignorant SOB. He is darn lucky I wasn't on that train ride. What a jerk.
    And if you do see the girls again, please tell them we all like Belle, very much.

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  28. What a miserable old coot! Apparently he was never a child and likely has no reason to be in the accessibility car anyhow. As a mom of a very "communicative" two year and a half year old, I have come across my share of scowls and comments, but I have also experienced far more individuals who give you a smile of empathy because they've been there and understand. There are far more of these people in Canada than there are of him. Let's all show her that she's not alone!!

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  29. wow...i stumbled across your blog..thanks for sharing your story, although i wish you did't have to...

    i too am amazed by irish mom's ability to be out and about with her 3 littles...in a new country...

    i hope that you see her next tuesday, and thank you for your well written post...

    and *IF* you do meet irish mom next week, tell her that she has more class in her little finger then that man will ever possess in his entire life...

    hugs

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  30. To OUR new Irish friend: Welcoming you and your family with open arms and lots of hugs! Truly hope that these messages will help you understand that this man was an anomaly, not the norm for how we Canadians treat others, and that you can, in time, wipe this from your memory banks. Also hope that you and Kirsten become good friends, as she is a wonderful, caring person.
    To Jasmine, Molly & Belle: You have obviously both inherited and learned caring and compassion from your parents. Hopefully, the memory of this man's horrible behaviour won't stay with you for life.
    To Kirsten: Thank you for sharing this story with us, so that we can stand up for justice and the compassionate culture that we strive to nurture here in Canada. Truly hope that you can connect with this mother again next week and share our collective hugs with her.
    To the man on the train: Shame on you for your despicable behaviour. Have you ever heard of Karma?
    Heidi W.

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  31. This breaks my heart, kids will be kids and sometimes they are enthusiastic. NO ONE has any right to think kids should be anything but themselves. This man should have moved and refrained from making any comment.

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  32. There is nothing more beautiful to the ears than to listen to a child. Whether they are shrieking with delight or wailing from being hurt, tired or angry. Nothing is more wonderful than to listen to a child babble away, telling you their stories, whether they are a few months, a few years or a decade old. Don't believe me? Ask any parent who's lost a child...They would give anything to have that "bothersome" noise back. And I feel so very, very sad for that old man, what a tortured soul he must have, to not realize this.

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  33. Your story made me bawl. As a mom of 3 kids as well, I couldn't imagine someone saying that to me! I hope you see her again and that the experience doesn't keep her away. I agree that you showed her what Canadians are really about with your openess to talk to her and her kids and talk about you're own children.

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  34. I absolutely agree with you that this woman is a force to be reckoned with...signing her daughter up for dance classes within 4 weeks of arriving in Canada!! Amazing! The skills involved in that...and the courage to get on a train and travel with little children are proof of her strength. The man was acting poorly -- worse than most 5 yr old's temper tantrums. All I can imagine is his lonely, angry little life compared to your new friends busy "LOVE FILLED" one. I know which one I would choose! From one mother to another mother --- many hugs to your new friend and her little family.
    Tricia xo

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  35. Kirsten,
    You are an Angel Unaware....thank goodness you were there with her and she was not alone when that man decided he was having a bad day....I could understand him making a mistake, but like Ken said the mocking only sealed the deal on him.
    Love
    Mom

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  36. This is such an incredible story. I really hope that your Irish Friend stays strong and doesn't let this one terrible incident with such a pr*ck of a person define her stay (however long) in Canada.
    Kirsten, you are definitely a true Canadian!! I'm honoured to share a country with you! :)

    I've posted this on my blog too (http://smookiestyle.com)!!

    Thank you again, for being such an inspirational force.

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  37. What a story,you should send it to the news papers and see what they do with it. I came to this country many years ago and love it here. I have never in my life heard of such a nasty thing. Well done Kirsten, your blog has all the nice Canadians on the "war path". I hope this lady with the three young children will hear of this, I have faith in you to follow through with your great intentions...you go girl!

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  38. Hi Kirsten,
    Thanks for sharing your story. In this world, negative people often have the last laugh and only by such positive people like you will we be able to reverse that trend. Hopefully you will be able to reassure the brave and fantastic mom that the nasty man is the exception, not the rule. Even though her one day was ruined, her next 75 years in Canada won't be with you on her side.

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  39. This blog just illustrates why you are considered one of the most special people in all of the lives that you touch. I had so many emotions reading the tale- disgust, heartbreak, hope, kindness, confusion.

    I send a big hug to your new friend and her lovely girls, and I hope that the man that made a bad choice today will wake up tomorrow feeling a little differently and will choose not to take that attitude a day.

    I hope that your new friend will soon learn that Canada is made up of many people, and if she is really lucky, she'll meet another person just like you (well okay not just like you because let's face it that's not possible) really soon!

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  40. Welcome to Canada! I'm sorry that you had a bad introduction. We're not all senseless jerks. I know you'll meet many more welcoming and friendly Canadians. We're lucky to have you come and join our country and we hope you like the rest of your stay.

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  41. I loved you blog comments. There is a thing in this world called karma, this man should be expecting a good dose of it to hit him between the eyes. Perhaps it already has as evidenced by his hateful manner, imagine having to go thru life with that much hate in you. His life must be very bleak indeed if he feels the need to belittle others the way he did so cruelly to this woman trying to make a new life in a new country with 3 young children. I have no doubt the young Irish woman will prevail as will her children that hateful man on the other hand will get back from the universe exactly what he puts out ugliness and hate.

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  42. I want you to know that all moms, all over world would have felt exactly as you did, so sad that anyone would be so rude and heartless to you and your girls. Welcome to Canada and please have faith that this is a wonderful place to raise spirited, lively and sometimes noisy children ; )!!
    Love,
    Another Canadian Mom

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  43. There are people who have nothing good to say, and no empathy whatsoever. I'm so sorry that this lovely mom and her three beautiful children had to share a train with him. I am, however, grateful that a wonderful woman with lots of empathy spoke up in the moment - and that another wonderful woman is gathering these messages of support.

    Kirsten - I'm so proud to be your friend.

    Mar

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  44. Hey Kirsten,
    I really hope you do get to see this family again. Please send them a very big welcome to Canada and big huggs from me! Going on a road trip with 2 little munchkins is hard enough. I can't imagine how hard it would be to move to a new country!!! Props to 4 amazing women (even the mini ones)!!
    Love and Huggs to all!!

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  45. just wanted to tell you that I've found myself back on yor blog three times today - I can't put into words how special I think this is that you've done this.

    And to your new (I'm sure to be life-long friend), there are millions of us that care a heck of a lot more about the fun antics and noises your children make in public than one old crab on the train. I hope that your girls grow to know the loving kindness that can be found here

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  46. Tracey Edgar-StubgenJuly 27, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    From a mom of 4 which includes a 14-month-old who is going through a smashing of dinnerware stage...I would have cried too!! The jerk on the train is a true BULLY, the kind we warn our kids about and I am so proud of you for standing up to him!!

    Kirsten...what can I say? You are one of those genuinely KIND HEARTS! I'm PROUD to know you!!

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  47. Roxane NicholsonJuly 27, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Thank you Kirsten for sharing your experience on the train, and having the compassion to help this mom with her three children on the way home. There have been countless times in my journey as a mom that people have stepped up to help me in a moment when my children have needed to be entertained or distracted. I felt sad to hear that this mom from Ireland noticed that we, as Canadians, are not as tolerant of children making noise in public-interesting observation....not one I am proud of.
    It is clear that this man is a bully, and he should have removed himself from the car. His comments were unacceptable and uncalled for. I like to imagine that getting his kicks from breaking down a mother in the company of her children will eventually be his demise.
    I hope you will meet up with this darling family again-I am sure the girls are hoping for the fun lady on the train.
    Great Blog Kirstin-keep on being you!

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  48. What an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing and wanting to do something good. Reading your blog was inspirational and motivational and so touching ( I had tears in my eyes). Hearing about a woman in her situation managing 3 young children in a new country and doing a wonderful job, just puts things in perspective. It makes me want to be the best person that I can be. And strive for her strength. I hope you get to meet her again and share the comments from this blog.

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  49. People in Ireland, I do believe refer to this like the man in the train as arses. We in Canada call them a-holes. Either way, , it fits. Hope a dog pees on his shoe. Great post.

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  50. You would think I would know by now, being a 37 year old mother with 2 children of my own, but I still can't get over how rude some people are to others and how there is no regard for others sometimes....people like this are constantly disappointing me!!! That lovely woman can be very thankful for you and your kindness, rest assured she is!!
    Big hugs to that family and lots of love sent her way for a more smooth transition to our mostly wonderful country!!!! Let her know there are multicultural centers in most neighborhoods that help immigrants from most countries familiarize themselves with our culture here in Canada.
    Good luck to her and HUGS!!!

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  51. Dear Irish Mum,
    this is such a sad story........i feel for you and your children, that man had no right to dare say that to you or anyone for that fact!!

    i do hope very much that you get to read all the wonderful things evryone is saying just for you!!
    Good luck to you, and ((HUGS))

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  52. Dear mom of 3 beautiful ladies, I too have 3 children very close in age. I am religious however am not a big fan of church anymore. I attended a service one day and my 4 yr old and 2 yr old started dancing to the hymns in the aisle. I didn't think they were doing any harm until I eventually asked them to come back and sit down and a man said very loudly "finally.. THAAAANK YOU!! I was so upset I just left. Good for you for standing up for your daughters rights! Sending you love, Nova Scotia Mom.

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  53. As a Canadian living in New Zealand I know how hard and emotional it is moving to a new country! It's a time when you need to be surrounded by positive and supportive people.The last thing you need is to have to cope with horrible, rude people. If you meet up with her again please give my empathy, support and a big hug!

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  54. I am so embarrassed and disappointed that this was one of this wonderful woman's first experiences in Canada. I cannot believe the audacity of someone who thinks they are better than everyone else and would treat someone else in this manner. I enjoyed hearing all about Jamine, Molly and Belle and hope they continue to be the sweet, caring children that their mother raised them to be, and that their mother, simply (as hard as it is!) brushes this ignorant man's comments aside and continues to be the strong and wonderful mother that you've painted in this picture! ...Glenda

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  55. I took a different look at this story. I was proud of the other woman on the bus that said something and the few that clapped when something was said. This made me proud to be Canadian as it shows that yes we have some jerks just like everywhere else but for the most part we all stick together. Maybe if Irish Mom looks at it that way she will know that this is a great country and we are not all like that gruff man. Hugs to her and her family.

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  56. Thank you for sharing this story. She sounds like an amazing woman who doing everything she can for her children. Please welcome them to Canada on our behalf. I hope they continue to meet people as sweet and kind as you. Hugs for all of you

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  57. Sending a {{hug}} and a big WELCOME to Canada to mum and her gals :). Over look the rude behaviour of this man and be please feel the love and acceptance from the many moms (and that has been most of us) who have sat in your seat with a child the enjoys being a child! Your children sound just perfect to share a train ride with.
    Donna (from London)

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  58. You were running late for a reason that day...You did not need to stand up for her on that train to support her...you were already doing that, and continuing to do so with this public review.
    (((000))) for you and for all fearless mothers out there.
    :)

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  59. There are going to be jerks everywhere who forget that they were once children, too. Don't let them get you down. Keep in mind that your children have the right to be children and that means crying, laughing, dancing, singing, stomping, screaming and all the other fun and drama that go along with kids.

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  60. Dear Irish friend,
    Even though I know it hurts, there are people in this world who can only make themselves feel big by making others feel small. You are obviously a very strong woman and a good mother, and your girls will grow up with love in their hearts and respect for others, thanks to your guidance. Please do not judge this new country by one person's ignorance. That man is one of few. We welcome you and your family! With kind regards, Jennifer (mother of 2 chattering kids)

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  61. Big hugs to Irish mum. I really hope you get a chance to travel with her again to let her know about the huge amount of love and empathy that is focused her way. This man, no, I wouldn't even call him a man, does not represent the majority of Canadians, who I have found to be most friendly, welcoming and supportive.(I am a Scots immigrant of just over 2 yrs now) Shame on him, I bet his mother is proud!?! Give me the company of a loud, babbling, talkative baby over an inconsiderate, boorish, kn*b-end who would rather cause upset than relocate to another quieter part of the train, just to make him feel good about himself, any day! What a loser!

    So hold your head high and get back on that train. It sounds like these sweet little girls are a credit to you!

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  62. Dear Irish friend,
    Your story reminds me of a few conversations I've had with my Deacon at my Catholic Parish. He says that when babies cry out they are actually praying out loud for something. He goes on to say that if a baby is crying during a homily it is not the parent's problem but the person delivering the sermon and that nobody should ever leave for fear of disrupting others. Babies are part of our society (we were all ones one day) and are welcomed in many places including public transportation. Perhaps Annabelle could tell that this man had an aura of hatred around him and was praying out to help this man. Welcome to Canada!

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  63. Kirsten, please tell your new friend, which I believe she and her family will become, friends, that guy on the train was a JERK of the highest order. Obviously has no children of this own and hates his life! What a way to be welcomed to a new country, he is a shameful example of a Canadian. This country is full of good and understanding people which the comments to your blog will show. Keep up the good fight Dad and I are proud of you, love ya.

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  64. It's shoking that a grown man can think it's ok to talk to someone like that. We've all been there. He has no heart.

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  65. There is nothing more joyous than the sounds of a baby or young child and how sad for anyone to close themselves off to this sound of our future. This man is to be pitied but this does not justify his abject cruelty. I came to Canada alone and have met so many wonderful people....your friend will too. There are nasty people everywhere and it is so unfortunate that this lovely family had to see our bad side first. However having met this man it will be all better from now. Canada is a warm, welcoming and all embracing country full of opportunity and wonderful people. They have also met one of the best through this incident thanks to you. I wish them all the best in this new home and will wait anxiously to see if you can reconnect.

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  66. We had a similar experience in a restaurant... but I was with my husband and another couple (which is much easier than being a parent alone with small children) and that woman's ignorance actually lightened our mood and completely relaxed us. Instead of shushing the children and being stressed about making sure they were behaving we allowed them to be children and laughed at her expense as other patrons came to us complimenting us on how well our children were behaving - all because they had heard this woman's comments (eg: when the food starts flying I don't want to be near that table)... Don't let this man reduce you to tears - show pity towards him instead, "I am so sorry sir that you are stuck in this car with us - I hope your legs get better soon so you can move elsewhere" lol

    Luckily that man is in a minority. Usually there's someone around like you, Kristen, perfectly willing to take a few minutes to revel in the awesomeness of young children.

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  67. Dear Irish Friend,

    First off I'd like to welcome you and your family to Canada. I have to say I'm stunned, gobsmacked and my redheaded temper is flying, over the treatment you received on the train. Please don't let the actions of one miserable, rude, no good S.O.B. taint your first experiences. Please tell Jasmine and Molly not to worry, they have a tonne of new friends and that they and little Belle are just perfect in our books. I hope that meeting Kirsten helps to soften the hurt and sting that jerk caused.

    Dear Kirsten,

    Thanks for being you. I can say I have had the privledge of knowing you for many years, though we haven't seen each other for quite a few. You have and continue to represent your country strongly and with grace and class. I would like to join with the others in saying we're proud of you Kirsten!

    To The Man On the Train,

    You don't deserve to be afforded the general decency and respect we should all show our fellow human beings.

    I could sympathize initially, if you had had a hard day and were out of sorts. However, you not only put your foot in your mouth, but you swallowed both legs up to your ass. Well done! Can you do any other tricks? What kind of creature are you? Not only did you laugh at that poor woman's hurt and anguish, you made her children cry. You must be sick, sad and pathetic. It's too bad that karma didn't hand you one right away and make you fall on your face on the way out. Then maybe that poor Mom, her children and everyone around you could have had a laugh at your expense. Maybe it's saving it up for when you are feeble. Maybe some young, ignorant punk will trip you up and laugh in your face. Who knows? You're a heartless monster and you should be ashamed of yourself!

    Sincerely and heartfelt ALL around,

    Candice (Allen) Force

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  68. Sounds like one amazing mom. It must be hard moving to a new country so far from home. That man is NOT representative of Canadians and had no right to treat anyone that way. I love that another woman stood up for her. I would love to think that I would have the courage to say something.
    I think there is a resounding applause for this mom who is doing an amazing job with her girls, and a even louder resounding BOO for that man. He must be a miserable, miserable man for him to act so shamefully.
    We spent time in Ireland and every single person we met was extremely friendly. It makes me sick to think she comes here and gets treated like this. This man does not speak for all of us. I would be glad to sit next to you and your shrieking baby any day.

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  69. Wow, Kirsten, I just read your post and most of the comments above. I think this is a really amazing story, and I'm thrilled to see that you've gotten such a response! Your passion to "right this wrong" is palpable, and wonderful, and inspiring - thanks for doing this!
    I really hope you meet this beautiful Irish family again next week, and that you're able to pass on all of these expressions of kindness and welcome. I'm sorry that this unfortunate man ever crossed your paths, but it seems that a great deal of good has already come out of this situation - welcome, Irish mum and girls, and know that the people of Canada are better represented by Kirsten and her friends, than by the impatient bully on the train.

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  70. momof4sixandunderJuly 28, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    I'm speechless at the ignorance of some people! ***hugs*** is all I can give cause at this moment words escape me!

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  71. I have been there done that with having upset little ones on the bus by myself. I had my 3 year old and 1 year old on the bus the other day and my one year old was crying and my 3 year old was overtired and misbehaving and I got many dirty looks and comments from other passengers. But when I got home I vented about my bus ride to a web forum of other mothers and they all told me they've been there and done that too! I wish people would be more understanding. when you have little ones on public transit you do the best you can!

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  72. Dear Irish Friend and Fellow Mother
    I am deeply sadened by the fact that any of this happened ..Pleople no longer have common courtesy or a "filter" and they just go about the world thinking everyone owes them something. They are WRONG. You had every right to be where you were with your 3 children and had every right to be making as much noise as you saw fit to let them..after all he had no problem sharing his loud rude ignorant voice with the other people on the train why should you sweet children be any differnet. Please know not all Canadians are grumpy old sad people that can't hold their tongues.I hope you never have to experience this ever again..and you realize that most Canadians are not like he is.. **hug** for you and your 3 perfect little girls.

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  73. I am very thankful that the woman and her children had the pleasure of meeting you first. I have no doubt in my mind that you were in the right place at the right time and for good reason. It is so sad that some people have to take their frustration and angry out on others. I hope that these comments will help with the hurt and show how much people care. hugs and
    god
    bless

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  74. That "ugly" man poses an embarrassment to the rest of us decent and caring Canadians. I can only hope that one of these days karma slaps him hard in his face the was his hurtful words did to this poor woman and her children. Hopefully your thoughful blog, and everyones kind words will comfort her and her children. Welcome to Canada!!!

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  75. You know what "GO" needs... in addition to the accessibility car, they need a car for morons. There are likely enough of them on that train every night to fill one. Everybody else could ride home with smiles. He is missing a few screws, maybe his mommy used to pull out his finger nails or pluck his nose hairs, to embed the ugliness into his heart. Which one did he look like? Waldorf or Statler? Maybe he could get a job on the Muppet show. But then they weren't as sick as this puppy. Good on you Kirsten. You are the real deal.

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  76. This jerk does not deserve anymore of your energy, tears or sadness, he has taken enough. You must take your anger and turn it into something positive...raising kind thoughtful daughters. Be confident that for every one of him there are hundreds of Kirstens in Canada. Time to get those Irish eyes a smilin!

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  77. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. ~Robert Fulghum

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  78. Hugs to you and your new Irish family of friends, hope you meet up on Tuesday! To the rude man, perhaps he needs ear plugs so the world of children and reality doesn't infringe on his need for quiet. My mother warned me that a quiet child is a sign of problems, that a child should understand that their voice is important...no matter what the age!

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  79. I really hope you meet the woman again! Tell her she is amazing, wonderful, and strong. She has darling children that man would be lucky to know. My 9-month-old LOVES to squeak and scream. I squeak and scream right along with her and we both have lots of fun! Had I been on the train, I'd have been squealing with Belle and I bet my girl would have joined in the shrieking party too. (Wish we had been there!) :)

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  80. Great blog! These are people who should ride solo; disgusting. I unfortunately have had several looks and comments when my three and five year old are in public with me. At the end of the day, let him go back to his lonley, miserable life where he doesn't love anybody including himself. People like that are like an annoying rain downpour that spoiles a picnic, but it's nice to see that a rainbow always appears to brighten someone's day!

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  81. Thank you for sharing this story with us!

    I hope that you are able to reconnect with this woman and her girls next week and pass on all these wonderful messages. It is a shame that one foul-mouthed man could ruin an otherwise lovely train ride. It frustrates me that people are so bitter and self-centered that they cannot display a shred of empathy for a mom and her kids. I wonder what that man's mom would say if she knew how he behaved! Clearly he had something else going on in his life that caused him to behave so poorly.

    I hope this story encourages all of us to compliment and not condemn others. Kind words go a long way! Take some time to chat with the person next to you, or offer a smile. More acts of kindness will help to offset the damage done by the grumpy minority.

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  82. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
    - Maya Angelou

    Thank you, Kirsten, for wanting to make your new friend and her lovely girls feel good...let's all take your example and run with it!

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  83. From one Irish mom to another hello:) I moved from Dublin to Canada 22 years ago and you are right.....at home (in Ireland) it is perfectly fine for kids to be loud. I am so sorry that you had to go through such a horrible experience here in Canada and I would not judge Canadian's by one horrible grumpy old man! Your children sound like a delight and a total credit to you:) I remember my mam bringing me to my Irish dancing lessons....I even tried to get my Canadian born son to join but alas a dancer he will never be. It took me such a long time to get brave enough to venture out and do different activities when I moved here but look at you after only 4 weeks....as we would say in Ireland.....go on ya good thing:) Keep your head held high, your doing a great job with your children and that's the bottom line:)

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  84. That guy was a dick. She and her kids did nothing wrong from what any reasonable person could tell from that story.

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  85. Wow!!! I am so upset with that man and I wasn't even there!!! I have 3 young children and yes totally understand trying to entertain them and keep them quiet is impossible at times; but they are kids, right?!! Was that man never a child himself???? Wow that woman and her children sound amazing. My heart goes out to her and I hope she (or anyone else) does not have to deal with a selfish man like him again.

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  86. Lesson learned: not all people are good.

    However, just know in your heart that you are a great mother and doing the very best that you can!

    This reminds me of something, more positive; about a month or so ago, I flew down for a friends wedding with my mother. On our way home, we noticed a young couple struggling to board the plane with a set of very young twins. Instead of gocking and rushing past them, we saw their frustration- and offered to help. We helped carry blankets and baby bags on board, while they managed with their children and stroller. I couldn't allow myself to walk by and not even offer to help- I know how I would be in that situation, and I don't even have kids! I am a teacher though, so learning to ask for help when you need it, is an acquired skill.

    All it takes is a little help, and know that there still are good people in this world who will. Don't let evil people bring you down that won't give you the time of day, but look for the people who will support you.

    I wish you all the best!

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  87. Hi Kirsten, I praise you for sharing this story and taking this across Canada. We all need support at different points in our life, I pray the man who made this comment to the mother gets the support he needs. We are blessed to live in a FREE country, and that means "scream" little Annibelle, "scream". I feel sorry that Jasmine & Molly had to witness their mom in tears, children are very delicate and we never know what words can do to them. I believe that God puts us in front of people for a reason, and that is exactly what happened when you got on that train and sat with this beautiful family. I pray that you will meet this mom next tuesday and you show her the support she has from True Canadians who believe that we are to love one another and not speak words of hurt to anyone.
    I am sure the mom will realize that some people just don't think or care what they say or how much it can hurt someone. There will always be people out there like that, but God's people are not like that. Welome to Canada and God be with you every step of the way. There are more good people out there than bad people, always think of the wonderful lady you met on the train and the kindness shown you by her. I send big hugs to you, Jasmine, Holly & Belle.
    God Bless you and keep you.

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  88. amy darling: timmins ONJuly 29, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    What a wonderful way to harvest up the positive energy of Canadians.

    Truly hope you see the family again to offer your friendship again. What a well-written piece.
    Thanks for sharing Kirsten.

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  89. Please welcome your new friend to Canada. I'm sure she will find It is a great place to live & it is full of wonderful people.

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  90. As a mother with three small girls myself I completely put myself in this woman's shoes. Being a mom is HARD work but rewarding work too. I hope this one negative experience has not formed a forever opinion of all others. No matter where we go in the world there are small-minded people trying to bring us down and block our road to happiness. The key is to rise above their negativity, try to speak kindly and hopefully have them see a better way. And if they can't, don't let them ruin our happiness in the process. I hope she knows she was doing nothing wrong and it is only one small person's opinion. I'm quite certain there were many others on the train that felt for her quite deeply but were also too upset, scared, or blown-away to say anything. Kudos to the lady that stood up and supported her - that takes guts and it must have helped re-affirm to her that the negative opinion of one negative man was not the opinion of all on the train that day. We need to all remember to tread lightly on others....we never know what they may be experiencing in life at those moments. Compassion and understanding can make all the difference in their day. Good luck to her. There are many good people out there....don't let one bad one make you forget that.

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  91. From the sounds of things she was/is doing a fabulous job with her little ladies.
    Don't worry about this jerk. They hopefully are few and far between. If you see him again - I would have the girls start singing at the top of their lungs. This way you can tune out all the negative energy and he will remember to take another train. LOL - my brother and I use to sing loudly on the city bus when we were children. I remember the fun of it and I don't remember any rude people... but I'm sure it must of got on some people's nerves. So if he's there sing away - enjoy yourselves and forget about him.
    Hugs.

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  92. People everywhere are RUDE...they think they have the right to say out loud anything they are thinking.
    The woman will remember your kindness longer than that horrible mans meanness!

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  93. I have been in similar shoes of this beautiful spirited mother, and it is so hard. But what I have to do now it just tell that angry person(s) the man in the case is I am sorry you are are so bitter and I am going to pray for you. And sometimes that just makes them annoyed but in my heart I know I am doing what is right. There are always going to be a select few that have something bad going on in their lives that don't know how to better to control it that to take it out on those around them. But while you have those people you always have those as the one who writes this blog whom has a very kind helping heart. The mother has only been here a month, she in time will see just how many amazing people there out there that touch hearts and change lives, blog writer being one of them!!! God Bless this Beautiful mother and her 3 young angels!!!

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  94. To all Mothers~ We do our best; as this woman did! If you see her on Tuesday tell her that she is a wonderful, powerful, inspiration! And let her know taht it is unfortunatley common to have such an experience. I had a similar experience in a MCDONALDS of all places! Had 4 kids with me and a man asked me: "Can't you keep those kids quiet?" I said: "Not in a McDonalds!" They are kids, let us let them be kids!

    I do have to say, also feel awful for the man, I can't imagine what kind of childhood he must have had to behave in such a way!

    Good for you Kirsten for doing your part! Imagine what an affect you may have had not only on that woman but on all the people who witnessed the event!

    Thank you again for DOING something!!!

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  95. Kirsten you are an amazing women as is the wonderful women you met on the train. Wow she has a lot going on with just arriving here, caring for 2 children and an infant, being able to find and take her daughter to dance class. She's a great mom!

    Over the years I have learned that we cannot control anyone but ourselves. We can only pray that someday this man is able to let go of his anger and stop hurting others. I truly believe that we are to treat others as we would have them treat us. As a Canadian I strongly believe that MOST Canadians are good people and sometimes it takes the not so nice to show us how nice others are or to remind us.

    It has been most uplifting to see the number of responses and read the wonderful comments. I would love to be with you on that train Thursday. I think that she'll be thrilled to see you again and be crying happy tears when she reads these anonymous caring comments.

    Thank you Kristen. You're a good person! :)

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  96. When I read about that jerk on the train I thought of a quote I once heard, “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this room."
    It's something that man obviously didn't do!
    Tell her "Welcome to Canada! We're not ALL jerks here" :)

    <3 (((HUGS))) for momma and her 3 little gals! <3

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  97. Hello
    I have not read all of these responses but it is obvious there is a lot of support for this mother and her family, which is wonderful to see.

    There are many like that man out there. They are tired and angry with other things and have never had children, and if they do they have been grown up for some time. So, it's hard for them to know, or remember, what it is like. This does not excuse their behaviour in any way, but, to keep in line with the compassion we are all showing here, I believe we also need to give it to those who seem less deserving, that's how we will change the world.

    That aside, strictly for the Mom, my heart goes out to you as a Mom of two young ones. We are ususally the hardest on ourselves so it's so easy to take other's judgements to heart and I'm sure the fatigue and general feelings of being overwhelmed in a new country didn't help. I think in those times, and we've all had them, we need to remind ourselves that it's really not about us or our children. I believe you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This man needed someone to vent at and feel in control over and you and your children just happen to serve that need.

    Children are no longer expected to be seen and not heard and frankly I celebrate that. The more you can give yourself peace and love through these sorts of things the better. I'm so glad you were not alone.

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  98. Kirsten, keep walking with these beautiful people. If not this Tuesday, then the next and the next. I will walk with them too, in my thoughts and prayers. Please tell this family that they are not alone. Mom is strong and brave and kids are open and loving. This is an inspiration for me to live my life in such a way.

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  99. Just wanted to say that I hope you can meet your new friends again on the train and let them know how much they are supported! I am a mom of five with the baby almost 10 months old - I know that shriek well! At our house we call him the baby pyterodactyl. About a month ago I had my two little ones (9 months and turning two) in the grocery store. It had been a long trip and the boys had been fantastic! Happy and content. In the checkout the baby started happily shrieking away to his hearts content. Most people were chuckling. Not the miserable woman with the sour face behind me. Oh the huffing and tsking and eye rolling that ensued. She then started in on the nasty remarks and I, who normally would never say a word, turned to her and said, "You should be glad then that he's making happy noises. It could be a lot worse!". The cashier and another elderly lady in line jumped in with stories of their own babies in show of support, but the miserable woman certainly affected my day. What had been such a good happy day turned so quickly with someone's thoughtless remarks. I paid for my groceries, packed the boys in the car and went onto my next errand where a woman yelled at me for having the baby (my 23 1/2 lb strapping 9 month old at the time) in the freezer section of the store because I "should know it was far too cold for a little baby" (he wasn't in the freezer for heavens sake!). I left the store and cried in the car. Please give your friend a big welcome and support from a mom whose been there!!! Thank you for your thoughtful post. If nothing else hopefully it will give people food for thought!

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  100. I feel very sorry for that man that he couldn't feel delight in those children. What a miserable existence he must lead. I also hope that the family will realize that the vast majority of us are not like him and that you will meet them again sometime to share our comments with them.

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  101. Momma from Cambridge,ONJuly 30, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Wow! I'm shocked and have been reduced to tears for both of you! This was something that never should have happended! This man obviously never had children or been around a child or a woman for that matter! I was happy to read that the other passengers on the train were her support! As a mother of 2 very loud and active little ones (3 and 1 years old) i totally understand how going out in public can be a task, and i honestly don't know how i'd deal with a man such as that! I'm so glad she had you Kristen, essentially a strainger, that she could have sit with her and her children until they got off the train!
    Good-on-ya Kristen for writting this post and i sure hope that you run into this sweet lady so she can see all the support she has!

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  102. Sending hugs to the Irish mum and would love for her to know that I think she is a brave and strong woman, for so many reasons. For standing up to the rude, ignorant man on the train, but more importantly, for her courage in moving with her family to a new, strange country. I can relate to the perspective of the children, as I moved from Scotland to Canada with my family when I was 8 years old, and know it can be a tough time. It sounds like the children so enjoyed meeting their new friend, Kirsten, and I'm sure you had a positive impact on their day, despite the rude encounter that followed. As a new mum of a 9 month old baby, I'm now fully immersed in the world of high pitched screams of delight coming from such a tiny little person, and aware of how much louder it always seems when we're in public. I'm sure I too will meet my Mr. Miserable some day and reading these posts has helped to prepare me for that moment as well. The Irish children sound like delightful, friendly, well behaved children, and the mother should be proud of her lovely girls. Welcome to Canada, Irish family, and please know that the 100+ posts above are so much more reflective of the people of this country than the one miserable man who was on your train.

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  103. Thanks for posting this KK - what an insensitive person you came across on the train. Its amazing that people can be so inconsiderate sometimes. We, as a culture, are pretty obsessive about making sure children don't "act up" when they're in public, and we probably go overboard simply because one unkind person can make you feel like you're doing something wrong if your children make a peep.

    Well, forget that!! We parents do everything we can, and it certainly sounds like this sweet mum is doing just the same. I hope you find her on the train again so you can show her how many people support her. Our kids deserve to have a childhood that includes being silly, creative and having fun...including when they're riding on the train with miserable commuters who have nothing better to do with their time than make others feel miserable too. Hugs to the mum, her three girls, and you! xo

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  104. Sometimes people have no concept of the trials and tribulations that mums have to go through! The courage that this women showed is a testament to what we as parents often go through. Each of us have our own challenges. Sadly people like that man will live a sad lonely existence because he felt it appropriate to belittle another person. Isn't sad that he had to do this to make him self feel better. I think I will not only keep this wonderful new family in my prayers but the man with little or no manners as well. May God touch his heart and show him a much better way. God created children because He knew that they were the ones that would lead many to himself. God also reminded us that we are to be like little children and so I am positive that making noise and crying are a joyful noise unto the Lord. May we all make joyful noises unto the Lord no matter what that looks like! Bless the new family as they settle into a new country and from someone who lives here... WELCOME.. we are so glad you are here!
    Blessings
    Sandy

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  105. Just wanted to send a virtual hug .... to you for sharing this, to the new mum to Canada with her girls, and even to the old man who was wayyyyy out of order because perhaps he wasn't hugged much as a child and his tolerance is low.

    You brought tears to my eyes reading your blog. I never really pay attention to blogs - it seems a lot of people have their say about nothing and everything but something caught my attention and I found myself still reading.

    Please let the mum know that sometimes you have to forget that there is always one bad apple in a bag - so you just have to cut that part out and use up the rest. And welcome to this part of the world - not all of us are mean and spiteful.

    PS... our pastor told us a few weeks ago that if our 11 month old son was too noisy in church that we should go ahead and tell them that the pastor told us it was not permittable to smother the child - that they were allowed to make noise in the church!! He also told us that it should quieten the parishoners that might be bothered by a baby fussing while they are supposed to be listening!!

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  106. She is a brave woman!!!!!!!!!!!!! It takes a lot of courage adn strength to move to a different country having to take care of three children. I hope that she and her family will always be happy and stay together supporting each other no matter what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Adriana.

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  107. First and foremost, the man on the train is poor excuse for a human being. How DARE he berate the poor woman, reducing her to tears, because he couldn't concentrate on his paper.

    To the mother of three, I applaud you! For braving the train with three young children not a month after moving to Canada. For having the gumption to question him after his comment and for, spilling your tears when his asinine comments broke your spirit. You need not feel ashamed or embarrassed for your tears as they were totally justified.

    I hope you and your girls know that not all Canadians are as obnoxious as the man you were unfortunate to ride the train with.

    As a mother of three myself, I know how hard it can be to keep your kids at a respectable volume when they are excited; as your girls certainly seemed to be...especially a baby, finding her voice.

    If Kirsten finds you, I hope you'll accept a virutal *HUG* and know that you are truly remarkable.

    Stephanie

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  108. Dear Irish Mom,

    That man was a complete boor and certainly not representative of the Canada I know. Good luck in your new home and the many new travels you have in front of you. don't let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

    Pam

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  109. Welcome to Canada! I hope that you don't let a few bad apples ruin the whole experience.

    It really is a great country with so much to offer.

    Lots of Internet Hugs,
    e.

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  110. I've just moved to Toronto from Calgary. I'm trying my best to navigate this city and all of the things that are new to me. I can hardly get myself around public transit successfully on a good day - and I'm just one person. I couldn't imagine doing it with 3 young girls in tow. Add to that an entirely new country (not just a province) and this woman sounds like a superhero to me.

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  111. Kirsten,
    I have just found out you have been trying to find me. I have read your blog and all of those heartfelt responses. When I got off the train that day with my three little girls, my heart was breaking. Breaking because of that rude man; breaking because my daughters were asking was someone going to take Annabelle; breaking because they were asking me not to cry; and most of all breaking that I could not say thank you or goodbye to you. We were having such a lovely conversation, sharing stories and listening to Jasmine and Molly happily chatting, being interupted with the occasional shriek from Annabelle. That mans comments cut me to the bone. I tried to stand up for Annabelle but his reply broke my heart. When I returned home that night I told my husband what happened. He was stunned but was happy that I had met a kind person (you) on the train. Thank you for writing your blog and thanks for the amazingly warm responses. I do hope we meet again.
    Annabelles Mom!

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  112. Tracey Edgar-StubgenAugust 11, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    YAY KIRSTEN!!!!! YOU DID IT!!!!! SO proud to know you!!

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  113. This is an amazing story!! Thanks for sharing, Kirsten. I really feel for this mom. She shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed for someone else's poor behaviour.

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  114. Kirsten- thanx for sharing this story.
    Irish mom, we Dutch dancers missed you very much over Summer this year! Hopefully we'll see you again soon. Keep strong with your lovely girls and husband.

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  115. Dear Irish Mom,
    I am so glad that you found Kirstin's blog! She truly has a heart of gold-I am proud to call her a friend. I hope you can feel the warmth and love of us Canadians through our responses to Kirstin's story.

    Dear Kirstin,
    Good job! How awesome that your blog is reaching so many people-especially your new friend from Ireland.

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