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.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.