“Thank You, I Needed That”

Several years ago, during one of our holiday trips, we went shopping at Downtown Disney. For those who are not familiar, Downtown Disney is an open mall, filled with shops and restaurants. The stores were very crowded with vacationers and locals enjoying the holiday decorations.

Mike, as always, was walking in front of me. I typically walk behind Mike. I am able to guide him through crowds verbally and redirect him, as needed. Also, he tends to walks at an extremely fast pace, whenever I get ahead of him, he speeds up to pass me.

As we were walking through one of the stores, Mike spotted a young man standing in line to check out of the store. The man was in his 20s and had two prosthetic legs. I can only assume that the young man was a war hero. His father was standing behind him and noticed Mike’s course correction in their direction.

Mike was on a MISSION and, in his excitement, picked up his pace. I immediately knew where he was heading and started chasing after him, calling his name – anything to slow him down. In my mind, I was hoping that I could explain his autism before he invaded their space.

As I was rushing over, I locked eyes with the young man’s father, he smiled and mouthed, “it’s okay.” I immediately felt some relief – at least he understands.

As we approached, I began apologizing. I started explaining that Mike has autism and is attracted to uniqueness in individuals. Before I could get the words out, Mike hit the floor to examine this young man’s prosthetic legs. Did I mention that we were standing in a crowded store! I was HORRIFIED!! The young man and his father were extremely kind and understanding – assuring me that it was alright.

As quickly as he hit the floor, Mike stood up. He looked the young man in the eyes and said …

“HIGH FIVE, Robot Legs – AWESOME!”

The young man gave Mike the high five, looked at me, and said …

“thank you – I needed that.”

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10 thoughts on ““Thank You, I Needed That”

  1. Susy says:

    That is so beautiful. The young man just made me feel good too. There are people that understand our sons and daughters without our intervention. I love it.

  2. Okay, So this is my new favorite Autism Hippie blog post. I keep saying that Mike reminds me so much of my son Tate.

    This is an excerpt out of one of my posts from earlier this year:

    Sometimes Tate makes loud observations about the people around us. When Tate was much younger we were in a store and saw a man who had one arm missing. The man was wearing a western shirt, boots, and a cowboy hat. Tate very loudly said, “This place has one-armed cowboys.” I do not know if the man heard or not but if he did he was gracious enough not to say anything while I tried to hush Tate. It gets even “better” though, we saw the man again later in another place and stood right behind him in a line. I did my best to keep Tate’s attention on me and was successful at avoiding another outburst. Then, we found a seat to eat some lunch, and who came and sat at the very next table? You guessed it. The same man. I often think of Batman’s line in the old Batman movie when these kinds of things happen: “some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.” For a year or two after that experience, Tate always referred to the store where we saw that man as, “the one-armed cowboy store.”

    The whole post is here: http://quirks-and-chaos.blogspot.com/2014/03/speaking-tates-language.html

    Lisa from Quirks and Chaos

  3. Adam Smith says:

    In a situation with a million ways to go wrong and only one way to right, it’s nice to know that at least one time, life can go right.

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