A simple act of kindness towards a fellow #Autism parent

I was at the grocery store today with my kids. Walmart to be exact and the kids were doing pretty well. I was a little frustrated with them but truthfully, that’s more on me and less than them.

We were at the register, unloading the massive amount of groceries so they could be scanned and bagged.

Behind us in line was a mother and her adult son. If I had to guess, I would say the son was in his twenties. What caught my attention however, was the fact that her son was Autistic. As a parent to three Autistic kids, I can usually tell. Everyone is different but there’s times when I can just tell. I think many Autism parents possess that same skill set.

The mother had silver hair and I kinda felt like she was gifted that color the same way I was. I came by that color honestly because of loving and living in the trenches of Autism parenting. I suspect she’s been in the trenches a little longer than I have but we do recognize our own.

I never spoke to her because she had her hands full with her son. From what I could tell, he was a sweet kid but seemed to require a good deal of time and energy. I can totally relate to that. I felt a sort of kinship with this mother. Her son was stimming and making loud noises. I could see employees and customers shooting her dirty looks because of ignorance. They probably don’t understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of those dirty looks.

I was thinking about saying something supportive but instead, I just smiled at her and her son because I had my hands full with my own.

She didn’t seem bothered at all by his behaviors and handled him with grace. I was really impressed, not that me being impressed matters to her at all. I just saw someone who was incredibly patient and understanding with her child. It was just nice to see that in person.

I was beginning to stress out because we had spent way, way to much on food and while I feel like my kids were doing well, they required a great deal of my attention. I wasn’t in a place where I could divide my attention any further.

The silver haired mother was loading up the few groceries she was getting onto the belt, so I put the little divider behind the last of my things to make it easier for her. She said thank you and I said you’re welcome. Those were the only words spoken between us. She went back to managing her son and I was corralling my own.

I could totally related to the grocery items she was getting. While we don’t eat the same things in our house, there were only three different items in her cart. The was maybe a dozen lemonade mix packets, two boxes of stuffing and some butter. The reason I can relate to that is that my kids only eat certain thing and I often find myself stocking up on them when I can

My kids were nearing the end of their rope and my sanity is already hanging on by a thread on a good day.

Having said that, there was a part of me just waiting for someone to say something cruel to this mother and her child. I know how these comments can hurt and I was ready to push back if something was said. Thankfully, everyone limited their feedback to dirty looks.

I wanted to do something to show support and solidarity to a fellow Autism parent, clearly dealing with a challenging situation.

I paid for my groceries and pulled out some extra and quietly asked the clerk to please put that towards this woman and her sons grocery bill. The clerk seemed stunned, like no one has ever done something like that before and that’s sad.

After paying for their groceries, the kids and I left. They knew what had happened. I didn’t want to make a scene or explain why I was doing that. I just wanted to do something nice for a family that reminds me of my own.

I figured that a kind gesture would be better than trying to find the right thing to say.

Truthfully, it’s not a huge deal. We’re talking $20 and that was it. I try to do things that I know I would appreciate having done for me. Many families like mine are tight on cash and even $20 can be a lot. There have been plenty of times that I’ve found myself on the receiving end of a strangers kindness and it felt good to put that kindness back into the Universe.

The kids saw what I did and I told them I would explain when we were in the car.

I simply told them that we should always be kind to others, even if it’s not easy. I’ve had someone ahead of me in line at a drive-thru pay for my order before and it really felt good to know there were people out there who cared. It changed the course of my day. My hope is that the Mother behind us in line at Walmart, felt the same thing.

I only share this because I believe if we all were a little more kind to one another the world would be a much better place. Why not consider paying it forward when you can. Do something nice for someone if the opportunity presents itself. You never know the positive impact your random act of kindness could have on someone.


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  1. This is not agreeing with what anyone else has said about this, but to be honest, if I was that lady and read this, I would be offended that someone was assuming things about myself and my son. Te gesture was nice, but reading the entire article it almost feels like it was self serving. Sorry If I offend anyone, but just speaking my opinion.

    1. You’re welcome to your opinion and I appreciate you expressing it in a constructive, respectful way. I disagree with you personally because I wouldn’t be offended if someone did something nice. I don’t get offended easily but I look at the intentions and appreciate the gesture.

    • CaliBruinsFan on November 3, 2019 at 2:53 pm
    • Reply

    It’s funny. What you see as an act of kindness is also see as an incredibly offensive and insulting gesture on MULTIPLE levels.
    A. Why assume her hair is silver is from raising her child?
    B. Why assume that she would compare raising her child to being in a war? (Being in the trenches)
    C. Why assume that being a special needs parent means she needs (or wants) your $20?
    D. Why assume that lemonade and stuffing are all her child will eat? Maybe that’s all she needed from the store.
    E. Unless her child was taking root right there in Walmart, he wasn’t stemming.
    F. I will give you that you knew he was autistic by looking at him, but you would be outraged if someone told you they could tell you were autistic just by looking at you.
    G. For someone who wants no glory or accolades, this was certainly a self-aggrandizing blog entry.

    1. Well that was nice of you. I got up this morning and thought to myself, I hope they create yet another account to troll me with. Thanks for helping me check that off my list..

        • CaliBruinsFan on November 3, 2019 at 3:56 pm
        • Reply

        Way to ignore the content. You can think I’m a troll all you like but what I said has merit and you would know that If you stopped with the narcissism and actually read and paid attention to what people write, but unless we are patting you on the back and telling you that you’re crushing it you don’t want to hear it and decide that we must be trolls.

    2. Also, thanks for the pointing out the typo. You’ll be glad to know it’s been fixed. ☺

        • A on November 7, 2019 at 12:43 am
        • Reply

        Aren’t blogs meant to discuss things that happen in said persons life? I think the point of this was to say that doing something thoughtful is always a good idea. It’s never a bad idea to do something kind.
        I can speak from experience that raising a child on the spectrum is indeed very exhausting some days.

        I think it’s more concerning that we’re teaching people in our society not to do something kind for fear of offending someone. That doesn’t even make any sort of sense…..
        I’m sorry but I don’t think anyone I know would be offended if someone put money toward their grocery bill. Even if you’re well off or if it’s not needed. If it’s not needed, then take it and pay it forward to someone else.

        1. Thank you. That’s exactly my point. I had people do kind things like that for me and whether I needed it or not, it was an emotional shot of hope. So often families like ours can feel invisible or isolated. Having someone reach out to me, even if it was paying for a meal or something like that, feels good because someone noticed you. Thank you. ♥

      • Dotdash on November 4, 2019 at 11:19 am
      • Reply

      CaliBruinsFan – Your post betrays some really problematic thinking on your part. Please take these posts — Rob’s and yours — to your therapist or priest or advisor and ask for guidance. Please. If you don’t have anyone like that, please find someone. Seriously. Your life could be so much better without the hostility and strife with which you face the world. I don’t say this lightly and I expect your response will be defensive. But please. For your own sake. Be a kinder person. We are all working on that goal. Join us.

        • Moe/Zoe on November 4, 2019 at 12:06 pm
        • Reply

        As a parent I would be offended if someone just assumed all of the things that he assumed about this women. CaliBruinsFan isn’t alone in this thinking. It is one thing to pay for the person behind you in a drive through line, you can’t see them, so you aren’t assuming anything. Rob LOOKED at this woman and made up a whole life in his head. He does this kind of crap all the time because he thinks he is better than everyone, and killing it in the Autism game when he does the bare minimum to keep heads afloat

        1. Honestly, how many accounts are you going to make? I really feel bad for you because jt seems you have nothing going on in your life that can distract you. You have a great week and I promise not to let anything you say get me down. I know what I was doing and what my intentions were. You can twist it however you need to but the issue is you simply don’t like me. I’m okay with that. I just question why you feel the need to devote time you can never get back to coming after me. ♥

            • Moe/Zoe on November 4, 2019 at 1:17 pm
            • Reply

            LOL I don’t know why you think I am everyone that disagrees with you, I assure you I’m not Bruins fan. IT’s not that I don’t like you, its that you are so self righteous it is disgusting. And you WHINE non stop about your life situation but do NOTHING to change it, and everyone pats you on the back and says you are doing awesome, you really aren’t. Your kids are high functioning, verbal, and aside from some emotional problems and minor issues you really have no idea what it is like to raise a child with sever autism. Even Gavin is high functioning compared to autistic kids I know. You make your life out to be sooooo bad, when yes it is tough, but that is of your own making. You are the one that needs to step back and actually look at what you are doing to cause your life situations and not what the system, or deaths, ,or other people are doing to make it that way

        • CaliBruinsFan on November 4, 2019 at 5:31 pm
        • Reply

        Dot, is Rob being a kinder person when he calls someone a fucking moron or tells them to go fuck themselves? Why does he think that being a special needs parents gets him his own set of rules? Just curious.

        1. “Fucking Moron”. You’re probably pulling that off of Twitter and I’ve made my feelings about the hateful, racist, bigot known as Donald Trump very well known, as does majority of the world. As for telling someone to go fuck themselves, I am guilty of that. It wasn’t open ended, it was directed at those people out there who seem to feel the need to find something negative in everything I do. You know the kind of people I’m talking about right? The people who feel the need to critique my parenting because they know my situation better than me. The same kind of people who don’t realize that there are families all over the world dealing with similar challenges discussed here and who might take offense to someone with zero experience saying negative things about something they have no comprehension of. I said those people can go fuck themselves. If you take that personally, perhaps it’s time for some soul searching.

          I’m a bit confused why you’re pulling things from various platforms and putting so much energy into this. Do you not have anything else going on in your life?

          Many of us are just trying to find our way through incredibly difficult circumstances and do right by our families. It’s messy and imperfect but we do our best.

            • CaliBrUinsfan on November 5, 2019 at 10:41 am
            • Reply

            LOL WUT? Fucking moron did come from Twitter as did the ‘go fuck yourself’ comment, it had nothing to do with your post about you letting Emmett sleep in your bed and I didn’t see myself in it. You aren’t seeing the point that you think it’s okay for you to be negative and hateful just because you think no one likes Trump. Well, I am no fan of his but he clearly has enough fans that he was voted into office. Your new deal is to insult the President on twitter and hope to get followers and it seems to be working so good for you. Just stop acting like you’re above it all when your actions are just as hateful as anyone else’s.

            1. Thanks for sharing your opinion once again. Have a nice day.

          • Dotdash on November 5, 2019 at 9:21 am
          • Reply

          CaliBruins – It’s up to each of us to make sure we behave in ways that we can be proud of. No matter what you think the other guy did to justify your response.

          I don’t know you, I don’t know what your situation is. But sometimes we all need a nudge, like “hey, you can do better than this. You can put positivity out there instead of negativity.” I’ve needed it myself. It’s no shame. Take it for what it’s worth, but it would be great if you could try harder to be the kind of person you’d like to see more of in the world.

            • CAliBruinsFan on November 5, 2019 at 10:35 am
            • Reply

            Dot, I don’t disagree with you at all. Positivity is always better than negativity. That said, my point was that what Rob thought of as positive could actually have been a very negative thing for that woman. Every one of his assumptions about her was negative, from why her hair was silver to him thinking that taking care of her son had her in financial need. He assumed that her life was more difficult because her son has special needs and he assumed that the boy ate nothing but stuffing and lemonade. Rob was projecting his own issues, challenges, and shortcomings onto this woman and then posted about it so we could all pat him on the back.

            1. I described what I experienced and shared what it made me feel. I don’t care how hard you try to pervert my good intentions because it really reflects poorly on you.

              When I see someone who’s havi g a difficult moment but handling it with grace and love, I wanted to do something nice. Others were staring and pointing fingers. I wanted to make a small gesture, that in my experience would be helpful. You’ve picked apart my words and assigned meaning where there wasn’t, and totally ignoring the message.

              The message was to encourage people to show kindness towards others when you can. That was the whole point. Thankfully, reasonable people see this for what it was and not how you’ve portrayed it.

              I honestly wish you the best. Please be better somewhere else because you bring absolutely nothing of value to this discussion.

      • CaliBruinsFan on November 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm
      • Reply

      But how do you know she was having difficulties? That Walmart trip might have been the best part of her day. You looked at this woman and judged her. Plain and simple. You projected and then made up a story in your head about how she has it rough because her son has autism.

      1. I watched with my own eyes as she tried to keep her adult Autistic child with her. He was constantly trying to wander off. She clearly loved her son and he clearly loved her but it was also very obvious to everyone there that it was a struggle. I don’t know why I’m even dignifing anything you say. I do want to thank for helping increase my traffic.

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