A Father of the Year

I quickly flung the small box of pads in my cart, only my eyes glancing sideways at the selection.  I rushed past the man that stood obviously perplexed in front of the vast array of feminine products.  My cart was half full of groceries and I just wanted to be done.

“Excusa me? Can you ahhh help me?”  he asked in broken English before I completely passed him.  I was rushing more so as to not embarrass him in what must have been an awkward situation.

“Ohhh…of course,” I responded.  ‘This poor guy’ I thought.

“Ahhh, yes, for my daughter.  She needs.” he continued.

“Does she need these,” I asking pointing to a box of pads, or “these?” I continued pointing to a box of tampons.

His phone rang on face time and I was able to discern a girl’s voice on the other end speaking frantically.

“Oh no, she 12 years old,” he told me as he turned the phone to let his daughter see the options.

I choose a regular pad in plastic packaging that would be appropriate for a 12-year-old and handed it to him. “These are good,” I encouraged.

“Oh no, she say a box,” he was scratching his head now and his cheeks blushed.  His daughter prompting him in the background.

I had never wanted to find a box of pads in my whole life.  This father had been standing in a Market Basket aisle for what seemed like forever for his daughter.

We searched more together, the three of us.  Suddenly, I was not in a rush anymore.

“You may want to try CVS.  They have more of a selection.”  I still waited by him in the aisle as he spoke to his daughter.  I did not want to abandon the search, but it was obvious that the “box” was not in this selection.

He struggled to communicate with me, partly from embarrassment I would imagine.  My heart was full of appreciation for the father he must be to her.  Was he a single father?  I thought of my students who had been raised by a single father and warm blood rushed to my chest.

“Here?” he asked motioning in the direction of CVS.

“Yes, right next door. I think you will find what she is looking for.” I smiled.

He thanked me but continued to stand in the aisle motionless.  I slowly walked away, glancing back at him staring blankly at packages of pads.

I hope he found what she was looking for.





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