Cinderella Under Pressure

Cinderella Under Pressure.

I write books about women who do too much in a world that asks too much from them, and I saw one of these women just the other day.

The woman I am thinking of was at a gas station, responding with incredible grace and dignity while under great duress. After filling her tank, this woman saw that she’d locked herself out of her car with her small child inside. She didn’t shout for help or make a scene.

I noticed her because I am not a dignified person when stressed. I’m a flustered crier who talks to strangers when things go wrong.

It was a nice day, there were not many people around, and she solved her problem with a placid look on her face and some fairly impressive flexibility.

While I stood, nozzle in hand, trying to figure out which button to push or pull for gas, she moved to the trunk of a beautiful SUV, where a thick film of plastic wrap covered her back window. Presumedly, she’d been in an accident, and fresh cellophane functioned as a back window for a time. She pulled the plastic apart with zero fanfare, no grumbling, and a lot of strength. I considered offering to help, but she didn’t look like she needed it. Besides, I was still trying to get my pump to take my credit card.

Once the plastic was yanked free, she began climbing onto the bumper and easing herself inside. She had to clear the back seat headrests, slither her whole body through the window and slide from the back seat over the dividers to the front seat. All while her child slept soundly.

Once inside the car, she checked on the baby, kissed the little one on the forehead, and then drove off. I glanced around. I’d been the only one to witness this athletic, motherly feat, but the woman left a memento on the pavement without so much as a look over her shoulder. There, on the stained concrete, I saw one brand new, white and blue Nike tennis shoe on the ground. This Cinderella must have kicked it off during the exertion of getting into the car.

Maybe she wasn’t as unstressed as she appeared. Maybe she was in a terrible hurry. Maybe she was too embarrassed to walk partially barefoot across the stained pavement to collect her shoe. I’ll never know, but I wish I could have told her, Never, never, ever be chagrinned about anything when you can display this kind of grace under pressure.

This is the kind of person I want on my side when the world ends and precisely the kind of person I write about. Women are amazing. I’m sure you know this already, but I’m writing to remind you.

I’d love to hear about a time when you were graceful under pressure. It will give me something to work for!

My newest book is right here if you want to read about another person who learns how to pivot with a little more grace. It’s called There’s No Coming Back From This and the Kindle version is available right now.


xoAnn Garvin


  1. Susan Kennedy on August 31, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Wow! She really did show a lot of grace and some creativity. After an accident bad enough to break her back window, though, that probably seemed like nothing.

    Also, I ordered your new book. I haven’t had time to start reading it, unfortunately, but it’s at the top of my TBR pile!

    • Ann Garvin on August 31, 2023 at 1:08 pm

      Right? She did. Thank you for ordering the book!! I so appreciate it. I hope you like it.
      It’s good to see your name in my comments!

  2. Amy Impellizzeri on August 31, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    What a beautiful story! I’m so happy you were there to witness her strength and grace!

    • Ann Garvin on August 31, 2023 at 1:08 pm

      Me too, lady. She deserved an audience.

  3. Michelle on August 31, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    I love this story! Makes you think…. you never know when someone might be watching and your actions might (or might not) impress someone (in a good or bad way). Kind of like pay it forward, in the behavior department. Lesson: Behave like everyone is watching and it matters!!! Thanks for sharing Ann.

    • Ann Garvin on August 31, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      You are so welcome. I only wish I could have returned her shoe!!
      But, I sure thought about her for a long time after.

  4. Gigi Marino on August 31, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    What a gorgeous story. And so beautifully told. A much-needed reminder to myself to remain calm and kind when faced with with life’s unexpected tumbles.

    • Ann Garvin on September 1, 2023 at 8:18 am

      Thank you Gigi! I’m not great at remaining calm, especially if I’m late for something. But, we try!
      So glad you are here,

  5. linda Wick on August 31, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    You always nail the story in a way that no one else can!! Love this.

    • Ann Garvin on September 1, 2023 at 8:19 am

      I think you’re biased. haha

  6. Suellen on August 31, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    I love this story, grace under fire. I’ve read your new book, and like all yor others, really enjoyed it.

    • Ann Garvin on September 1, 2023 at 8:20 am

      Thank you Suellen. I’m honored to have you reading my words (and liking them!). I’m so glad you found me.

  7. Suzanne Sellner on August 31, 2023 at 6:02 pm

    I had to practice grace under stress yesterday when my daughter called to say that she had run out of gas on the freeway. Fortunately she was able to coast to the shoulder. I was scheduled to pick up a friend’s daughter from school at a certain time, which was fast approaching. I took the gas can from the garage, drove to where my daughter said her car was parked, and waited anxiously until there was a short lull in traffic in the lane closest to my car before I got out. I took the gas can up to my daughter, who was waiting in the car on the passenger’s side with her little puppy. While she took the can and began pouring some gas into her tank, I cuddled with the puppy to keep him company and reassure him. Traffic was really bad, so I re-entered my car on the passenger side to be safer and struggled over the center console to deposit myself in the driver’s seat. Right after my daughter pulled off and re-entered traffic, I did the same. My prayers for safety were heard and granted by our loving Father. I texted the friend’s daughter and then went and picked her up only a few minutes late.

    • Ann Garvin on September 1, 2023 at 8:21 am

      That sounds like a puzzle of time, need, and energy that only a woman can provide. Sorry, I”m totally biased. Thank you for sharing this Suzanne. Your family is so lucky to have you.

  8. Christa Allan on August 31, 2023 at 9:16 pm

    Wonder if she’ll be a character in your next book….

    • Ann Garvin on September 1, 2023 at 8:21 am

      Hard to resist her…

  9. Kathleen Bylsma on September 1, 2023 at 12:08 am

    One of my favorite faithful blood donors, a tall, slender , elegant woman passed out while we were chatting after her donation. I mean, OUT. I had to use smelling salts to rouse her, while calling on my other staff to bring me the things I needed. I always took particular care of her because she was so slender, made sure she’d had a good breakfast prior and insisted she stay with me for a minimum of 20 minutes after, while she was having her juice and cookies. After she was steadily conscious, I tried to have her sit up, no go ~ she’d fade out again ~ I couldn’t get her BP to maintain so called the husband and the paramedics against her wishes but no way was I going to let her attempt to go home without a thorough evaluation,
    Her husband was infuriated with me/staff , had always been against his wife’s donating blood and started berating not only us but his dear wife AND the paramedics. They accepted that for about 22.5 seconds and one escorted him out the door to wait as they were securing her for transport. They couldn’t get her BP to stabilize, either.
    Sad to say, I never saw her again. We’d been donor buddies for several years. She’d followed me from location to location to donate and I felt as if I had let her down.
    The grace under pressure part: one of my trainees said “I want to be just like you when I grow up” so I assume I handled it well.

    • Ann Garvin on September 1, 2023 at 8:24 am

      What you described is the most lovely care for another human, despite the resistance.from all around. I love that you were donor buddies. What a lovely relationship. YOu must have been truly special to her. I hope I have someone like you by my side if I run into difficulty. Thank you for sharing this. So lovely.

  10. denise on September 1, 2023 at 1:06 am

    I once accidentally locked my three-year-old middle son–at the time I only had two of my three kids–in the minivan. I had a habit of opening the door and hitting the lock as I climbed in so that it would be locked before I started the engine.

    This day, I had the door open as I was buckling my son in his car seat, and a car roared by on the residential street, so I tried to close it enough so that it was ajar, but it closed the whole way. Still not thinking, I finished with my son and slid the door on the minivan closed before realizing what I had done.

    I looked around and realized I had to go back to the new sales office of the neighborhood where we were buying a home to get help. The agent called 911 as I went back out to watch my son, who was oblivious to what was going on.

    The fire department was on the way, but before they arrived, a sheriff’s deputy drove up, unlocked the car on the passenger side, and walked away before I could thank him. (Yes, I did shout thanks to him.)

    On the inside I was a nervous wreck, but I remained cool, calm, and collected on the outside.

    I broke that habit with locking the door.

    • Ann Garvin on September 1, 2023 at 8:26 am

      Without a single doubt, I’m sure that would happen to me (all of us).
      That had to have felt horrible but you did the right thing. You did it all so well.
      Also, having met you, I am not at all surprised. You have a very centred way about you.
      Thank you for writing this Denise. 🙂 As always, thank you for being here.

  11. Deanna Gast on September 11, 2023 at 6:00 am

    Thanks for sharing this lovely story Ann, there are amazing women everywhere!

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