Jaiden Farrell-Harris was tired, restless, and hungry. His mother Shekira Farrell needed to stop by the Beauty Supply Store to gather some supplies. She knew it was a difficult day, but she needed to bring her autistic son with her. Jaiden, 6 years old, began touching things, and running up and down the aisles. Farrell knew that the staff would be staring or even try to intervene. Just as her son approached the sunglasses display, an employee approached him and said, “Hi!”. She started to talk to Jaiden and asked if he wanted to do a mini-fashion show. Jaiden was thrilled and began trying on the glasses and posing for pictures. “As an autism parent, moments like that in public are both exhausting and nerve-racking, but she made it special.” Said Farrell.
Farrell was moved and touched that not only was she met with understanding, but the employee went out of her way to engage her son and be kind. “It was so beautiful to witness,” she said. Farrell posted about the encounter on Instagram, saying “I just wanted to share this story because I always read other stories from parents of a worker or a stranger going above and beyond for their autistic/special needs child and they always make me so happy.”
When it was time to go Jaiden cried, saying he didn’t want to leave his “new friend”. But the following Sunday, they returned, bringing her chocolate ice cream, which Jaiden had remembered was her favorite.
There are always those moments where we get caught up and don’t stop to think what someone else could be going through. It would have been easy to immediately think that the child was bad or that the parent had failed. But when we take a moment to be kind and engage others, we can learn about what is going on and maybe help someone in a tough situation. The employee did not have to play with Jaiden, but felt that by befriending him she would relieve a bit of stress from his mother and help her get through her day. A small moment of kindness changed everything. The next time you witness a moment like this, I would encourage you to stop, think and be kind. Maybe, just maybe, we can alter the course of someone day. And that would be a beautiful thing!
Original Post: Taylor Pittman | Huffington Post