There is no doubt in my mind that one of the most stressful places in the wonderful boro of Point Pleasant is the Stop & Shop parking lot on Bridge Ave, so if moments of kindness and patience can happen there, they can happen anywhere, and last night they did.There are moments where, despite the reputation in New Jersey, patience and kindness can shine through, and even though we’re all in a hurry and everyone is late, we really can be kind people.

I experienced it, not once, not twice, but three times in one trip to the Bridge Ave. Stop & Shop. And it wasn’t for anyone getting paid to do it either. Yes, the staff there is awesome and courteous, but the kindness I saw was generated from ordinary town people just going about their business.

It started in that crowded, ill-conceived always challenging parking lot.

Moment of kindness 1. The dropped groceries. Some poor woman was packing her car while another car was waiting for the parking spot (as happens dozens of times a day in the crammed lot) and her last bag, the one filled with the canned goods spilled onto the parking lot pavement and rolled everywhere. As she scrambled to gather her stuff, the waiting car did something amazing. It waited patiently for the shopper to finish, as did the cars trying to maneuver around the waiting car. No beeps. No curses. No drama.

Moment of kindness 2. The forgotten item. I went into the store, got my items, and joined a socially distant line to pay. There were three people ahead of me. The woman at the register is getting rung up and realizes she has forgotten an item and leaves the line to rush to get it. Uh oh. These people around me are going to flip, right? Wrong. The cashier waits patiently, my line mates don’t sigh, roll their eyes or jerk their carts onto another lane. Everyone waits, the woman returns, and the business of paying begins again, event-free. Am I dreaming?

Moment of kindness 3. The left out of the lot. We all know that when you try to leave that lot at the exit closest to Nature’s Reward, you don’t want to get behind a car making a left, because you’ll be there forever. That’s exactly what happened as I was trying to leave. Me and the three cars behind me bunker down for the long wait when suddenly I see it. Cars moving on Bridge Ave. in both directions stopped to let the car go. Am I imagining this? I’ve never seen it before.

So I started to wonder. Has everything we’ve been through in the past year or so actually made us kinder and more patient people? Have we finally realized we don’t have to all be in a hurry all the time? Are we going to be better to each other now? As I pondered this the car behind me beeped because I wasn’t moving fast enough...and the world felt right again.

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