I was at the grocery store today, as per usual with my arms overfilled, and bent down inside the glass-front fridge to get a bottle of cream. I was expecting the door to fall on my shoulder as I had let it go, but a stranger caught it. I stood up and flashed a brief smile, walking away as the person continued to hold the door.
I expected them to get something after I was out of the way, but they let it fall and started to walk away. I realized my mistake and said "oh! Thank you! I thought you were getting something." And they said "I just didn't want it to hit you." I think we smiled at each other but my memory stops there because I was distracted by my surprise.
It was such a sweet moment of kindness and it made me feel recognized as a valid human being (whereas most strangers look through me and expect me to step around them, or they stare). It felt good for a stranger to take that risk just to make a tiny moment a little more pleasant for me. And it felt pure because when I said nothing, they said nothing, so I didn't feel obligated by their kindness. When I looked at them as they held the door, their expression was neutral, and I felt safe in their lack of expectation.
Thank you stranger, for offering me that small kindness. It was a moment of true joy.