Small Kindness

October 2, 2013

This past weekend we took a little road trip.

And by little I mean 12 hours each way.

Because obviously that was a good idea.

About halfway through the trip, somewhere in Virginia, we figured it was a good time to stop for some food.

Faith has food jags….meaning, she will go for a stretch of time only eating 2-3 foods. Right now it is chicken nuggets, pizza and bananas. Given our limited menu options, we figured McDonalds would work. Plus, they had super cute Wizard of Oz toys that Faith has been asking for.

As always, I began to prep Faith for what was about to happen. I told her that we would be leaving the freeway, turning into a town, and then stopping at McDonalds. We would then get out of the van and go inside, place an order for chicken nugget Happy Meal, then take the food to our car.

She understood and seemed quite happy about the pit stop.

But….

(You knew it was coming didn’t you)

as soon as we entered the McDonalds parking lot, she began to fixate…..and fixate hard….on the Good Witch toy.

fixate

I naively thought I could work her through it if they didn’t happen to have that particular toy.

Yup, even after 10 years of this, I still thought I could.

Hey you…there in the back…I see you laughing.

So, we entered McDonalds. A very full McDonalds. A very, very full McDonalds.

Faith waited fairly patiently in line. Fixated the whole time on the Good Witch.

Do you see where this is headed?

She approached the counter, using “please” and her inside voice, she asked for nuggets and a Good Witch toy.

“Sorry, we don’t have that one.”

Faith went totally still and repeated that she wanted nuggets and the Good Witch….to which the cashier said, “We only have the Tin Man.”

Faith began shaking and turned to me. “I said I want the Good Witch.” I physically stepped between her and the counter and wrapped her shoulders in my arms to start some deep pressure in hopes of refocusing her.

No go.

Meltdown.

Screaming, freaking out, nuclear meltdown.

Faith is almost 100lbs now and if she doesn’t want to move, there is not much I can do, but I did at least get her out of the line and to the wall near the bathrooms. Meltdown continued. She was hitting, pulling my clothes, crying, yelling….the usual.

In the very, very full McDonalds.

In the very, very full McDonalds filled with what felt like the most judgemental people in Virginia.

Staring. Whispering. Pointing. Shaking their heads. Tsk-tsking.

Because I’m sure their child has never/would never act like this. Because their children are/will be perfect.

After about 5 minutes, which felt like several hours, Faith started to come down from the edge. She was starting to respond to my calm, soothing talking. She stopped hitting. She was catching her breath.

During the entire meltdown, I had stayed fully present with her. Calm as I could possibly be.

Then, I heard “Ummm, Ma’am, excuse me….” At that point, Faith was on the down side of it, so I turn and looked at the person.

It was the cashier, who had come out from behind the counter and was standing behind me.

Figuring we were about to be asked to leave, I steeled myself and turned toward her.

“Ma’am, I went into the back and I found the very last Good Witch for her. Come on back to the register and let’s get the Happy Meal.”

Right then, amid the whispers and judgemental stares, I started crying. Hard.

I eased Faith back to the register and explained to her that they had found the very last Good Witch for her.

I looked at the cashier, and while still crying, I told her “I’m so sorry, she’s autistic and she has really been wanting this one toy.”

To which she comfortingly said “I know”.

And I cried more.

And to all of you judging my child, me and my parenting when you don’t have a clue about what is going on….

Eff you.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara October 2, 2013 at 9:54 am

Oh. My. Goodness. The tears came at “I know.” At work. Thank you for sharing this!

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2 Kaelin October 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

Judgemental people will ALWAYS be out there! If they ever take a moment to watch you “in action” they would see what a wonderful,kind,loving ( i can’t even come up with enough clique words) mother/daughter duo you two are and possibly learn something! I’m glad to hear someone showed kindness in your fragile time. You both deserve it! I love you guys very much and Im so proud of who you all of you are. I definitely continue to learn from your family. You’re all a blessing to us

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3 Amy October 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm

You are an awesome person – I’m learning so much from you. Thank you for who you are, what you do – and sharing it with the rest of us.

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4 Cristi October 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm

That’s awesome. I was definitely in tears reading.

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5 Loco YaYa October 3, 2013 at 7:02 am

yep. i’m crying. at work.

there will always be judgmental people. always. there is nothing we can do about that but educate and hope one day they will *get it*.

my sweet, beautiful, bouncy 8 year old is bipolar (there are talks of possible sociopathic as well).. she can go from zero to nuclear in less than a second. over seemingly nothing. and usually chooses somewhere very, very full to do it. the stares hurt. the whispers make me angry. my parenting comes under scrutiny. it is so very frustrating. and then the looks I get back after I explain she is bipolar are almost even worse. it makes me so angry that my parenting comes under fire instead of the thought that there may actually be something wrong.

but every once in a while…someone out of the blue makes an awesome decision/move. those few times keep my spirits up. kudos to that cashier. and hugs to you mamma.

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6 Maureen October 3, 2013 at 7:16 am

Yup, I’m crying too. I have never been in your shoes, not even close, but I feel for you. I can only hope that some of those judgmental people saw the way that cashier responded and took note. And perhaps the next time they experience that, they will remember and will respond in kind and then someone else will take note.

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7 ToniToca October 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

Your a great parent. You handled that phenomenally well. My hats off to you.

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8 Meg November 1, 2013 at 11:49 am

Oh. My.

THAT cashier deserves an award.

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