During the novel coronavirus pandemic lockdown, Carson Swazey, who is on the autism spectrum, was feeling really down. Since he couldn’t do so many of the activities he loves, it seemed like the only thing that made him happy was food. His mom, Amanda Kinney, did what any good parent would do and began cooking his favorite meals to lift his spirits.
Before long, she realized the 19-year-old was using food as a coping mechanism and overeating. That’s when she asked him to walk with her to the post office to get their mail. The walks did wonders for his health, and he ended up losing 75 pounds. But it wasn’t the weight loss that kept him going out every day — it was the kindness of strangers!
Originally, Amanda set Carson up with a P.O. Box because she knew their friends and family members would be sending him graduation and birthday cards. Carson couldn’t get enough of receiving his own mail, but once those milestones passed, he was feeling down again and wasn’t as motivated to take his daily walks.
So his mom took to social media to ask her friends to send him letters of their own. Not only did her community respond, but they also shared the post, which quickly went viral. Before long, Carson was hauling seemingly endless piles of mail home!
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Because Carson is nonverbal, it’s hard for Amanda to know exactly what he thinks of all this attention, but she is certain he’s enjoying it!
“He is taking in every word we say (when we read the cards) and he seems to be paying more attention to this,” she said. “It’s almost like he knows this is for him and this is his thing and people are trying to connect with him.”
The cards are doing more than getting him outside; they’re also bringing back the joy he lost when the pandemic began. “Everything is limited for him now and just being able to go for walks is one thing that he can still do that he still likes,” Amanda added. “And there’s a reward for him, and that’s his mail.”
The whole experience has brought Amanda joy too! “All I ever wanted is for [Carson] to be embraced in a nurturing, positive community, to feel connected,” she explained. “We’ve been engulfed by all of the support. It’s amazing. I feel so blessed.”
You can send Carson a letter of your own at the address below! Be sure to share this story with your friends so they can join in the fun.
P.O. Box 871
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