My Broken Heart: The True Story of The Bare-Handed Man

AS SEEN ON CNN HEALTH

The story in the below post happened to me on February 22, 2011. This event has forever changed my life. Please help me share it. This is why we desperately need Autism Awareness. Thank you for reading and helping me share my story… This was also published on CNN Mon April 16, 2012.

My Broken Heart: The Story of The Bare-Handed Man

It’s been a few days since I have spoken with all of you. Something happened to me a few days ago that I have been struggling to deal with it. I hope you all truly hear what I’m about to share with you. I want everyone to read this and know what happened. Not because of what I did but because of what I learned… Please share this story and help spread awareness.

A few days ago I went to Giant Eagle to pick up some groceries. We had a winter storm on the way and I needed to pick up a few things in case we got snowed in again. I pulled into the parking lot and found a spot right in front of the entrance. My back is out again so I can’t walk very far. As I was pulling into the spot I had to wait for some people to move out the way. They were just standing in the parking spot. Their car was in the next spot over but they just stood there and shot me a few dirty looks,  like “who was I to expect them to move”. I just waited, it wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t even upset. They eventually started to get into their car and moved out of the way so I could pull in.

The snow had already started to fall and we were getting about 1″ per hour. I sat there a second collecting what I needed to take into the store. I just happened to look over at the people that were still getting into their car and I saw a large black man standing there. I didn’t see where he came from but in one minute he wasn’t there and the next minute he was.  Then I realized what he was doing. He was wiping the snow and ice off their windshield with his bare hands. The woman looked at him, like, “how dare you touch my car”.



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About Rob Gorski

Father to 3 with Autism and husband to my best friend. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)

  

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Jim
Guest

Well, now you got $20 back from my donation 🙂

Jim
Guest

Oh and I use use midnightROM too!

Day
Guest

FINALLY someone talks about the constant fear parents of special need children go through everyday. I constantly think about what would happen to MY daughter if i was to be gone today, tommorow next week. I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this up. WE HAVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD, CURE AUTISM NOW!!

Debbie
Guest

Rob What you did was beyond amazing and wonderful. This CAN happen to our kids Marc and I worry about it everyday. Specialy at times when Marc lives in his own world. (you know what thats is like with Gavin). This story broke my heart also something has to be done for the homeless and for our kids!! love you guys can't wait to see you guys again ((((((((hugs)))))))))))

Rob Gorski
Admin

Thanks everyone. This has had such a profound effect on me. Things need to change.

Lesley
Guest

I promise you that if you aren't there and your children need help (whether I know who they are or not) I'll follow your lead and stop and help. Not everyone will pass by.

Tracy Jarvis
Guest

I can be counted in as well. I will not turn my back on anyone in need even if all I have is my hand to reach out and get them safely where they need to be.

Martin
Guest

As a Father of a child with Autism this really hit home. My wife and I also fear what will happen to our son when we are no longer here, but try not to think about it.

Cara
Guest

Sharing this, yes, people do need to know. Having children with special needs is difficult, but still doable because they are small and we're still here- this is what so many of us are focused on every day, but looking into the future (somewhere I try not to look too often since it leaves me as a teary unproductive mess) is so much harder.

Claire
Guest

Rob, I can't get the lump out of my throat. It hits home about my feelings about the future. You are amazing parents. I will continue to read your experiences and please don't stop sharing. I am a single parent to a boy I took into my home at age 3 and is now 12. I worry everyday about HIS future.

Rob Gorski
Admin

I have been forever changed by this experience and I hope that everyone that reads this will remember the bare handed man..

Thanks for sharing your story.

Nora
Guest

Reading about your experience brought me to tears. We have 2 autistic sons, and just thinking about the day that my husband and I aren't here to care for them anymore is my greatest fear in life. Bless your heart for they way you treated that poor man. It sounds like your family has the same financial struggles that my own family has, however, I can honestly say that I would have done exactly the same thing you did. I pray that awareness can be raised to the point where people can recognize someone on the spectrum and respond to… Read more »

Onyx Panthyr
Guest

Your kindness and generosity will come back to you threefold when you least expect it. It's so heartwarming what you did for that man. I hope one day he gets back on his feet and can help someone else. Kindness starts as a ripple and spreads from there. Blessings to you and yours, Rob. 🙂

Aunt Sharon
Guest

Rob and Lizze, My mother is concerned what will happen to me if she dies. So am I. Your children need to know our neices and nephews and their children intimately so that they will never let them be alone. Family is everything and special social services is needed. It is a most frightening realization to know you won't always be there, so much more so with children who will never grow up. It saddens me that this is your reality. You helped that man out there. It doesn't matter whether or not he uses your gift properly or not.… Read more »

Lenin
Guest

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this story!

Kris
Guest

Hi Rob
I have a 10yo boy with autism and a 12yo girl with Aspergers. I single parented them for most of their lives.
My daughter is eccentric but will lead a fairly normal life; I don't know what will happen to my son 🙁
It is important that we continue to share our autism stories and it is important that we plan for our childrens futures. I'm not sure how things with there in USA but in NZ I have already started planning. If you want to email me, I'd love to continue communicating. With respect, Kris

Rounsy222
Guest
Rounsy222

Wow, amazing story. That was an eye opener for me. Thank you for sharing this.

Cool Springs TN
Guest

Thank you for sharing your experience, it was a powerful recount. A couple years ago I went to Wal-Mart in middle of winter, in the dead of night (around 3am). It was extremely cold, icy and very windy that evening. I bought whatever I needed and excited the store. A middle aged black man was in the parking lot gathering shopping carts to take back into the store. The parking lot was desolate, devoid of people or cars. Again it was very cold and windy. I drove past the man gathering the shopping carts and recognized him from my past… Read more »

flyers2114
Guest
flyers2114

Thanks Rob for sharing this….its a real eye opener…your generosity will be paid back for sure! Also i called your beta team out a little bit in the thread…i think they needed it….if not then they need to not test….see what ya think…If you think I was over the line let me know….peace bro! and get some rest!!!

Rob Gorski
Admin

I had a huge list of people that wanted to test. I picked my PPCGeeks guys (yourself included) and a few other people that just HAD to test…. I need to weed some people out that aren't helping and make room for those that will. Thanks for looking out.

Marilyn
Guest

OK, I cried. As a mom of nine, three of whom have Down Syndrome and other special needs (ADHD, OCD, SID, and other issues), I TOTALLY related to you, and to this experience. Without the assistance and love of their siblings, this man's experience could have been what my own precious daughters would have experienced in their adult years–a terrifying thought! Keep on fighting–there are a lot of us out here who are fighting along with you!

Ann Marie @ CHEESESL
Guest

I just clicked the donate button to send you $10.

And I'm sharing this post on Facebook.

Thank you for posting this. We are all in this together.

God bless you and your family.

tara
Guest

We also have a 10 year old son with autism. I think of these things all the time. I pray that the world has more people like you and less people like the lady in the car.

Rita
Guest

The last $20 is in your account. In dollars you are now back to square one but your heart is now bigger both in caring for this man and your family. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

cassio
Guest

Have you guys heard of the GAPS diet? I hope so. I think it offers help for anyone struggling with autism-it really makes sense and the results are amazing, its hard work but totally worth it. a simple explanation:
http://www.sustainlane.com/reviews/the-gaps-diet-

SM
Guest

…I sobbed while reading this. I'm a single mom to an autistic little boy and I worry every single day what will happen when I'm no longer around for him. Thank you for helping that man…because you didn't just help him… you helped ALL of our special kids with that one moment of kindness.

Brenda (mamabegood)
Guest

((hugs)) I hope you get respite or a break soon. Sounds like you really, really need one.

Sophie
Guest

I have read and re-read your blog over and over againg and the tears don't lessen. Your experience echoes fears that I have for my little boy. Jason just turned 2, medically diagnosed at 21 months old, and I still have difficulties some days with talking about his autism without tears in my eyes. We need to come together and raise awareness about autism for our children…we need for the future of our children to be accepted and better than how it is for the bare handed man.

Suzi Miles-Lilly
Guest

I just reposted you on our FB page with the hopes…that something wonderful happens to you soon. My husband and I have a farmer's market in Richmond, VA that sells farm food straight from the farm and we have so many families on the spectrum who shop with us, because our food is clean and nutritious. We have fallen in love with our spectrum families and have a beautiful, symbiotic relationship with them. Your post moved me deeply today and I just wanted to say that you will be blessed. Stay compassionate and loving.

sneezy316
Guest

I just read your broken heart post. I came by here from the wonderful work you do for the Epic 4G community. You are definitely spreading autism awareness. We have another friend with an autistic child as well. While my 2 little girls are healthy, I can understand how you feel as a parent with children in need. Please hang in there. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Thank you.

Cecilio
Guest

I started only glancing at this story but suddenly couldn't stop reading this. Your story truly touched me because every time i see someone asking for money I always assume the worse… beer/drugs but i never stop to think about the exceptions out there. I know i can't feel what you felt at that moment, but hearing you talk about it really made me put myself in your shoes and think about the future. nothing is certain, the future is unpredictable and we could all one day be in your shoes. You are doing a good job spreading Autism awareness… Read more »

Nick"farawaysoc
Guest

Your sense of compassion reminds me so much me of my own. Thank you for sharing a heartbreaking story, followed by a MUCH needed call for action. I must confess-I have literally nothing to donate right now. However, until I can start making monetary donations,I will donate something else you would appreciate-my time+ dedication. I will forward this, tweet this, FB this, and any other way I can share it. I will also further educate myself on autism as well. Ever since I started reading your blog while downloading your unbeatable Epic ROMs,I have come to think about you and… Read more »

Rob Gorski
Admin

Everyone PLEASE accept my sincerest THANK YOU for EVERYTHING.. I had no idea this story would take off like it has. I just wanted people to know what happened and how it impacted me. I think we need to change many of our assumptions about people like the bare handed man….. This man was someone's child….

Adi
Guest

Have you ever looked at the GAPS diet. The results are often astounding. It takes a lot of effort but I well worth it.

Celz
Guest

You are an amazing person.. I pray for your family often, God Bless…

lifeofbean
Guest

Just wow, this really touched me. I've seen firsthand how cruel people can be, especially when faced with the unknown. The only comfort I can offer is what goes around comes around, that bitch will get what's coming to her.

I have two autistic cousins, one will hopefully be somewhat high functioning. The other is still struggling with learning how to use the toilet and he's 6..

Best of luck with your kiddos.

Dan
Guest

My wife and I think about this a lot. Our youngest son has some challenges and right now we definitely need to be around to support and help him. We work extra hard to hopefully save enough so that he'll be taken care of when we're gone.

greg
Guest

You see the world through an amazing set of eyes. Thanks for linking and allowing me to share in that story. May God bless you Randy.
Greg

Yamus
Guest

I am truly thankful to you for sharing this story. I am not one to read much of anything, but I have to admit, that I couldn't stop once I started. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
Thanks,
Yam

Rob Gorski
Admin

Thank you Yamus… Thanks for reading..

Andy
Guest
Andy

Thanks for sharing this story. I have a 6 year old with ADHD/DD and I can relate to you story about what going to happen after we are gone. I was homeless at one time and was so thank full for the kindness of people like you. I was homeless because of mental illness and kindness of a few made the world seem a little better.

Deb @ Aspergers, fam
Guest

Thank you for sharing this story and for highlighting the fear that parents of SEN children experience on a daily basis. I often feel a tremendous pressure to live a very long life so that I can make sure my children (particularly my autistic son and daughter) are settled and cared for.

sarabethhart
Guest

Rob, Jews have a tradition of Elijah tales. The prophet Elijah appears as someone needing help, in order to test the worthiness of the person who himself needs assistance. I hope you met your Elijah, and your kindness will open the road to increased security. I also have three boys, and I can’t see the futures of my typical sons or my autistic one. I can only keep putting one foot in front of the other, and I admire you for keeping on in the mire.

katscafe
Guest
katscafe

Wow – just reading through some other posts since i started reading at your blog. your post touched me. Sometimes, when we give out of the least we have, we're blessed. I haven't read enough to know whether you were blessed. Emotionally, it sounds as if you were, at least a little. I can't help but see my kids in some of the adults I have met, adults whose circumstances make me hurt for them and for the future of this country that doesn't seem to care about the most precious and vulnerable of its citizens. I pray that you… Read more »

Autism is A Trip
Guest

I am moved beyond words. Thank you for sharing, thank you for being open to that experience. I, too, have seen my child's eyes in a lost adult, and it was the most jarring, unsettling thing I have ever felt. Much love to you and your family. <3

Rob Gorski
Admin
Rob Gorski

Thank you so much for your kind words.

What It Takes To Be Me
Guest
What It Takes To Be Me

This is an amazing and very touching post.
Thoughts and prayers,
sf

cyndi stallings
Guest
cyndi stallings

wow… you have moved me beyond anything I have felt in so long! I started to read this posting and now have re-read it twice, weeping the whole time! I too have seen this man, in many forms and places, and have also looked and assumed drugs, alcohol etc.. I have always given to my church, local food pantry, etc… thinking that is sufficient and my mind is free from guilt because I've 'helped'. But this man is someone who either didnt or couldn't ask for help from these places. He saw something special about you and knew that you… Read more »

Carolyn
Guest
Carolyn

Oh wow! That post hit home so much for me. I am a mother of a 7 year old aspie and my biggest fear in life is what is going to happen to him after I'm gone. Even now he is judged harshly by a world that doesn't understand him and he's at home safe in the cocoon! I want to raise autism awareness too. I voted for your, set up a reciprocal link to my blog (neurotypicalmom.com), but I want to do more. Please email me..I would love to help you in your efforts

Victoria
Guest
Victoria

Hi,

Wow, what a surreal story. So sad, yet so touching. It must be fate that brought me to your blog. I so know what you mean about worrying about our childrens future, especially with our special needs daughter. It is soo very scary. You just dont know….. you dont know what the future holds for them. You are soo right that Parents of special needs kids live with this indescribable fear each and every day. I so know I do. Thank you for sharing and please dont stop. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

That story is heartbreaking. Reading it made me feel as though I was there. I have an 8 yr old son with as,adhd and sensory needs. I hope with all my heart the world can open it's eye's and see that just caring for others can make a big difference and there is much help and support needed in the autism community and others as well!!

Amy
Guest

May your kindness come back to you a thousandfold. Angels come in disguise all the time. And any of our children may grow up to be like this man – you never know what will happen. "There but for the ghrace of God go I…" You can only be kind, and then be kind again, and keep the kindness in your heart and your deeds. You are the perfect example of a thoughtful, caring, human being. I hold you in my heart.
My recent post we survived the 8-23-11 5.9 earthquake

Rob Gorski
Admin
Rob Gorski

Thank you for your kind words and support.

niki
Guest

my son is 10 and has autism. he was diagnosed very young but did not get any services in the state of Arizona where we live. finally 1 doctor heard us. diagnosed my son. and now is getting DDD. but no services just yet. we are still waiting. i feel like you, wondering where our child will be as adults. i feel helpless. we have a crazy family who does not care. we have no friends. no family who cares. we feel so alone my husband and i. like us against the world with my son. i feel your pain.… Read more »

Rob Gorski
Admin
Rob Gorski

Well now you have at least one friend. 😉 Please join our support group. Click on the the special needs parenting support group. This is private and we all understand. We all support each other any way we can.

Thank you so much for introducing yourself. Please know that you are not alone and while we are there in person, we all here for you online.

Stay strong

Rob

trish
Guest
trish

I do not have children of my own but my brothers are autistic, While Danny has proven capable of living on his own David probably will never live by himself. I promised a long time ago to take care of him when Mom no longer could. I don't want my brother to end up alone. This story reminded me why.

Rob Gorski
Admin
Rob Gorski

Thank you so much for your kind words. I\’m glad my story touch you
so 😉

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

Please know that I am praying for you and your family. You make the world such a better place with your love, your kindness, and, most importantly, your mission to spread awareness about Autism. Several of my friends have children on the spectrum. I do not yet have a family of my own. But I see the challenges my friends face, and do all I can to support them, their children, and help spread awareness. I hope that things begin looking up soon. Until then, and even when they do, know that you are not alone. There are still people… Read more »

Rob Gorski
Admin
Rob Gorski

Thank you so much for your kind words and support

jpdeanna
Guest
jpdeanna

Your story touched my heart in so many ways. I have a high functioning autistic 7yr old son and I understand that sick feeling of will he be okay, what happens when my husband and I are no longer around. He can speak, but communicating is still difficult for him, he has taught me that there is a big difference between talking and communicating. I am so glad that you did what you could for that man and I wonder how many more like him are out there. I also understand the financial crunch, my husband and I pay for… Read more »