Editor’s Note: Longtime NYC Dads Group member Larry Interrante of Queens writes this special post about being the recipient and giver of generosity in the matter of a child being born premature.
My wife, Kate, and I were not prepared when she gave birth prematurely to our son in 2011.
We had a car seat and a bassinet for our child, Peter, plus some basics like diapers and wipes that friends and family bought for Kate’s baby shower. But there was one missing item I remember worrying about most: “How was I going to afford a stroller?”
My wife had been out of work for a while and her unemployment had expired. We were struggling to keep up with the bills. When looking at strollers, I couldn’t believe how expensive they were. Crazy expensive.
After Peter’s birth, my co-workers threw us a baby shower. When Kate and I arrived to my office, it was amazing: cake, balloons, baby-blue streamers and a bunch of signs reading, “Congratulations on your baby.” There were also lots of baby gifts. Diapers, bottles, clothes, gift cards — you name it.
But no stroller.
The last item we received at the shower was a card. It contained money.
Lots of money.
Enough to cover the cost of the stroller we wanted.
I cried because I could not believe my colleagues loved me so much and could be so generous to my family. I vowed to myself that I would pay it forward someday to someone in my office.
That finally happened this year.
My co-worker Barbara Rodriguez gave birth to a baby, also premature. Although my Peter came only three-and-a-half weeks early, Barbara’s son Mathew arrived three months before his due date.
Like my wife and I, Barbara was really not prepared. One thing she did not have was a stroller.
This past May, I worked with some of my fellow NYC Dads Group members at the New York Baby Show as part of the “Dads Lounge.” Our group runs the lounge every year, offering parents a place to relax, change their child’s diaper and seek advice from longtime dads like me while our members talk about the services, support and camaraderie NYC Dads Group offers. It’s always an awesome experience meeting these anxious new and expecting fathers.
While there, our group met representatives from Guzzie+Guss, a Canadian maker of baby strollers. One product stood out — the Connect stroller. Thomas Deumier, director of sales for Guzzie+Guss, talked to me about its open-frame concept for easy walking, the front and rear suspension system, the adjustable handles for comfortable pushing, the reversible and adjustable seat, and many other features. I found the Connect to be unique and awesome.
So I told Thomas my story. Then I told him about my friend, Barbara.
At the end of the two-day baby show, Thomas gave me the stroller for Barbara.
The next day, I contacted Barbara. When I told her I Guzzie+Guss had generously donated a stroller to her, she was very quiet. Then she said, “What? Did I hear you right?”
Then silence again.
A week after the New York Baby Show, Barbara came to our house to pick up the stroller. She was in awe. I showed her all the features Thomas had shown me and she learned them easily. She said it was the nicest, coolest stroller she had ever seen. The smile on her face and the appreciation she showed was very gracious and thankful, not just toward me but toward Guzzie+Guss.
Barbara recently sent me a picture of her baby in the stroller. The caption she wrote read:
“Thank you for my chariot. It is so comfortable and my mommy loves it. She could see me while we walk.”
That made my day knowing that they are both enjoying their new stroller.
Both are our stories are different yet the same. Generosity comes in different shapes and forms but one thing, for sure, generosity can make a difference in someone’s life when it is needed.
Disclaimer: The author received no compensation for writing this post. He did receive a stroller which was given to a friend in need. The author wishes to convey his thanks and gratefulness to Thomas Deumier and Guzzie+Guss.