Being a parent of any child is tough work, particularly when they begin to act out in public spaces and people stare with judgment. Parents of children with Autism experience this on another level, as their children are often triggered by external factors that are beyond anyone’s control.
Dawn Brown is no stranger to the judgemental stares and the overwhelm of guiding her autistic daughter, Lois, through periods of sensory overload that, to an outsider, looks a lot like a misbehaving child. Recently, she took her daughter shopping for shoes and was blown away by the kindness and compassion the store’s employee showed her daughter.
Dawn and Lois were shopping for shoes when they stepped into their local Clarks store. Once they were in there they were greeted by 18-year-old, Jacob, who worked with them to help Lois pick out the perfect shoes.
Unfortunately, something in the store was causing sensory issues for Lois and she began to respond in a way that someone unfamiliar with Autism would quickly lose patience with. Jacob, however, was calm and waited out the behavior and took his time explaining to Lois how each shoe would fit and feel. Dawn was so blown away by the experience that she sent an email to Clarks praising Jacob for his service.
My daughter is autistic. She wanted to come in and try shoes but once in your store had a sensory overload. Jacob came over and really kindly asked if he could help which I answered, ‘Yes, please’.
He didn’t mention or acknowledge the situation but just sat on the floor and started talking to my daughter. He gently tried shoes on her and explained to her why they would feel different and in time they would soon feel ok. He sat patiently while she cried and I had to rock her and carried on when she was ready without any fuss and he didn’t once make us feel like we were taking too long or being a nuisance.
When Jacob’s dad, James, saw the note, he was “choked up” by the kindness his son showed, and quickly shared the story on Twitter. He said that he’s “ridiculously proud” of both of his children, but this letter really made an impact on him.
After sharing the letter on Twitter, Dawn and Jacob’s dad connected and chatted about Jacob’s kindness. Dawn told James that she didn’t “know if he has experience with Autism, but he certainly did everything right” and made sure to mention that Lois still loves her shoes.
It didn’t take long for this sweet story to gain attention from people all over. People were praising James for raising such a kind child and applauding Jacob for his patience and understanding. More than anything, fellow parents of Autistic children were moved by the teenager’s compassion, as many of them have been in similar situations where those serving them were less than empathetic.
It’s clear that James is not the only person who is overwhelmed with pride in Jacob for a job (very) well done.
Be sure to spread the love and kindness and share this sweet story with your friends!
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