Giving Thanks

by CajunMama

This post is dedicated to all those Traveling Mamas, from the past and present, that have traveled to settle North America. This post was originally published Thanksgiving 2008.

The United States has long been a haven for those fleeing political or religious persecution. It is a well-known fact that Native Americans lived in North America long before settlers from Spain, England, France, and all those from the East came to explore, conquer, and live. But today, our country (and this Continent) is a mixture of ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds. We are so fortunate to live in a place where we can be ourselves, where we can go where we want, where we can dream of the family trips we’ll someday experience.

I sometimes travel alone to places, without a family member or a friend. It can be scary to many people, being alone in an unfamiliar place.

When I traveled to Missouri a few weeks ago, my plane landed around midnight in Kansas City. People rushed off the plane, oblivious to those around them, anxious to get to baggage claim. I walked along, just like everyone else, until the automatic doors opened and a cold biting wind hit me. There was an older Black woman wrapped with a bed sheet around her head. She wore house slippers and held her hands out as if begging.

People walked past her as if she wasn’t there.

I stopped to see what she needed, but all she could do was make an unintelligible sound, tears in her tortured eyes as she looked at me. There was a lanyard hanging around her neck with a card she showed to me.

“Hi, my name is XXXX. I am a refugee from Somalia. My destination is Kansas City, Missouri. If there is a problem, please call this number XXXXXXXX.”

No wonder I couldn’t understand her. She was speaking in another language. I called the number listed and was told that someone should be there to pick her up. I motioned to her asking if she had luggage, but all she had was the plastic shopping bag in her hand. I settled her in the waiting area while I retrieved my own bag and thought of the bravery of this Traveling Mama, leaving her country with just the clothing on her back.

As I grabbed my bag and turned around, I watched two young boys run to the woman and embraced her. Apparently they were her sons that she had blindly sent ahead to a different country to escape the violence and poverty of where they lived, hoping that she would one day see them again. The tears streamed down their faces as they just sat there, embracing. It touched my heart.

The experience made me think of my life and how fortunate my family is. I am thankful to be born in a country where today my children can be raised without fear of where our next meal will come from and where violence is not part of a typical day. What are you thankful for? Be sure to check out

Shannon Hurst Lane lives in south Louisiana and loves spontaneous road trips with her family or a solo mama getaway. She's the creator of with a mission to inspire moms to get out there and explore our world. Google+
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1 Miss Expatria November 27, 2008 at

OK, crying now. Lovely story.

2 Kristina November 27, 2008 at

Wow! This is a GREAT story. I wish more people would do what you did! Thank you CajunMama, for being the kind of person to stop and help a stranger! I am thankful for you and I’m sure that mother and her children are also thankful for you! Happy Thanksgiving! I too am thankful that we live in this wonderful country.

3 Luke November 27, 2008 at

very nice article, makes you stop and appreciate.

4 MountainMama November 27, 2008 at

Oh, Shannon. This is a perfect post for Thanksgiving Day. Thanks for sharing.

5 soultravelers3 November 27, 2008 at

Beautiful! Thank you! Knowing you Shannon, I am not surprised at all that you were the one who stopped and took the time to see what was going on, instead of just walking by.

God Bless you, God Bless her and God Bless us all on this special day that helps us remember the power of gratitude!

6 MoTravelGirl November 28, 2008 at

Oh my goodness. You’ve got me tearing up over here. Bless you Shannon for stopping when no one else could be bothered.
Hope you survive Black Friday LOL

7 Susan November 28, 2008 at

That was touching. It’s rare to see travel articles like this… thanks for the great post.

8 Bridget Smith November 30, 2008 at

Wow! That’s amazing. Thanks for sharing. I am proud to be part of this nation of immigrants.

9 Carolina December 1, 2008 at

Thank you for sharing this. I am an immigrant, and work with immigrant families every day. I have never endured what this woman probably had to endure, but I know what it is like to feel alone in a new country. Thank you for helping her.

10 Kaye December 2, 2009 at

This was a great story. It’s good to have a caring and thankful heart. I remember after Katrina and your Mawmaw was in line at Wallyworld and the couple behind her had lost everything and were relocating to our area and Mawmaw pulled out her check book and bought the bike they were purchacing for thier child. Makes my heart smile. So to all you Mamas Past present and future keep on doing what you do.

11 Karla Machnik August 6, 2010 at

Awesome job!

12 Inspirational Sayings About Life December 9, 2012 at

Wow, what a story. It makes me thankful for what I have.

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