Train station custodian's act of kindness makes father traveling solo feel seen
Taking your young daughter to a public bathroom as a dad can be tricky.
Any time you travel with a small child it ups the ante a bit. Did you bring enough stuff to entertain them? Did you pack the right snacks? Should you have brought an extra change of clothes just in case? Is it now customary to hand out small bags full of ear plugs and treats for all of the passengers for daring to leave your house to use a public form of transportation?
It's enough to stress you out before you even get down the street. But one of the trickiest parts of traveling with small children of the opposite gender is figuring out public bathrooms. It's usually fairly simple for moms, bathrooms for women have changing tables installed for babies and disabled individuals. They're also usually kept fairly clean and women visiting the facilities think twice about a little boy going into the women's bathroom with his mom.
Dads on the other hand aren't always comfortable bringing their daughters into the men's room with them. Plus rumor has it that men's rooms aren't always the cleanest for girls to go potty.
Kier Gaines has gone viral for praising a Philadelphia Amtrak employee for understanding this struggle resulting in a meaningful act of kindness. Gaines was traveling with his young daughter who looks to be around 5-years-old when she needed to use the bathroom. She's too young to go into the women's bathroom alone and Gaines wasn't comfortable taking her into the bathroom possibly startling women.
He was left with the only choice being to take her into the men's bathroom which had not been left sanitary. That's when the Amtrak Porter steps in.
"One of the porters that cleans here saw me and he was like, 'hey bro, you want me to hit the bathroom and clean it for you?' I said, 'yeah, thank you, man.'" Gaines reflects. "He said, 'yeah I got a daughter who's five.' he says, 'I understand how hard it is to be a dad and try to get them in a clean bathroom where they feel comfortable and safe.'"
Gaines admitted that a fellow dad recognizing the struggle and doing something to help got him a little choked up.
"It validated so many things that I felt frustrated with because they were hard but don't nobody want to hear a man complaining about what's difficult for him. Nobody wants to hear dad complaining about what's hard but for that man to see me struggling and understand deeply what that meant and clean that stall for my baby, man that meant the world."
The dad didn't let his appreciation go without being voiced, not only online to his 600k followers but to the worker's supervisor. He revealed the Amtrak worker's name is George, is dark skinned with two braids and encouraged people to tell him that he's doing an amazing job if they see him.
George definitely deserves recognition for going above and beyond. Sometimes a parent's village is simply other parents in the wild willing to see you and give you a helping hand. If dad's don't speak up about their parenting struggles then the world will never know to be inclusive of things specific to dads solo parenting for a few hours, days or forever. Gaines speaking up can have a positive impact for dads in the future.