Andrea Griggs is a wife and mother of 4 children including 2 with autism. She is the Director of Grassroots with the Utah Autism Coalition and is a great advocate for individuals and families with autism. Andrea’s hobbies include scrapbooking, blogging, reading, and singing in the car. You can read more from Andrea at her blog Picking Up The Puzzle Peaces.
I was at Wal-Mart with my 2 younger sons-Wal-Mart is probably my least favorite place to take my kids. It’s too crowded and loud, the lights are too bright, and there are far too many distractions. It’s complete sensory overload for my kids. It was a long shopping trip-by the time we got to the checkout, I was exhausted and my sons were done!
My 5 year old was completely overwhelmed and was having a complete meltdown. My 3 year old was grabbing candy bars as I was trying to calm my older son. I turned to the woman behind me to apologize for slowing down the line and my children’s behavior. I expected her to roll her eyes or make some remark about disciplining children better . . . but she surprised me by simply saying “Can I help you?”
I was so surprised by her kindness that I didn’t say anything-she noticed my reaction and continued to ask if she could help with my younger son while I attended to my older son. I graciously accepted her offer. She spent the next 5 minutes playing games with my son, singing songs with him, and telling him stories while I attempted to calm down my older son just enough to pay for my groceries and walk to the car.
She didn’t stop there-before I could pay for the candy bars that my son had opened, she asked if she could pay for them so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. Her kindness completely changed my mood and my ability to help and care for my children-it allowed me to remain calm in a very stressful situation. Every time I go to the store, I pray that someone like her will be behind me in line-this time, she was.