In the last few months, there were two things that happened that affected my and my son Lex's life dramatically, one in a negative way and one in a positive way. Since I'm always "preaching" about awareness, I would like to share these with you so you can see how something that a stranger did changed the outlook of a day (or more than a day) for us.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
I took my son shopping at Target a few months ago, which is his favorite store due to our tradition of buying a bag of popcorn upon entering. Unfortunately, after about 10 minutes of shopping, he got agitated and started to have a mini-meltdown in the shoes area. As I have learned to do, I talked to him to calm him down and after about 3 minutes he stopped crying. I was rather proud of myself for getting him calmed down in such a short amount of time until I noticed this woman staring at us.
The woman proceeded to walk over to us and, completely unprompted, asked me "What's wrong with him?" with a disgusted look on her face. I was mortified that someone would have the audacity to not only say that but to boldly come up to me without knowing me. So I replied "Nothing. What's wrong with you?" Needless to say, she didn't like that. And I just walked away before I did something I regretted or didn't want Lex to see.
Now, many people have said to me, "Oh, maybe she didn't mean it in a rude way." Trust me. I was there and I saw the look she gave my son. I have seen it a million times. I also won't lie and say that I walked away because I was the bigger person. No, I walked away because I was afraid I was going to start screaming at the woman or give her a lecture on autism and not judging people if you don't know them.
The moral of me telling this story is this: Think before you speak. Especially when it comes to parents and their children. Your words can cut right to the quick and hurt more than you can ever know.
A few months ago, Lex was battling one of his many colds / illnesses that he gets at the changing of the seasons. As I have described before, he loves his 'pushbutton' (the iPod Touch) and uses it pretty much every night in bed. One night, I heard Lex start hysterical crying in bed so I ran in to find out what was wrong. Lex had gotten sick in bed but that wasn't what he was crying about. He had gotten sick on his beloved 'pushbutton' and the screen had gone black. He was absolutely inconsolable. And for that matter, so was I. He cried and cried and cried and kept saying "Mommy can fix it!". Except I couldn't.
So as with everything that I do, my first thought was "maybe someone on Twitter will know how I can fix it". So I started barraging Twitter with tweets asking for help. I followed every piece of advice I got. But to no avail. The iPod was deader than dead. And I was facing nights of Lex crying, asking for his 'pushbutton'. This was a nightmare, as this iPod Touch cost me $400 and I didn't have the money to replace it.
I had talked about my son's love for his 'pushbutton' in a previous blog posting, so when I tweeted that it was dead, my Twitter 'friends' knew of my plight and understood my complete devastation.
But that's when the unbelievable happened.
One of my Twitter friends, a woman named Sascha, sent me a Direct Message. She told me that she was upgrading to a new piece of technology and would like to donate her current iPod Touch to Lex. The super amazing part? I have never met Sascha in person. She lives in England and we have only communicated via Twitter. After protesting for a day, Sascha insisted that she be allowed to send the iPod to Lex and I finally relented. The day that Lex got a package in the mail and opened it was one of the happiest in both of our lives.
I would also like to note that Sascha wasn't the only person to volunteer to donate to send their used iPod's to Lex. I also got two other offers after hers. Both from people I had never met in person. How is that for 'kindness from strangers'?!
What I would like you to take away from this blog post is this: Just because you are a stranger, doesn't mean you can't affect someone's life. Either positively or negatively.
Posted by Alison Faye at 4:20 PM