This past Friday my kids had a half day for their last day of school. To celebrate I offered to take them out to lunch. After minimal debate and a 2 out of 3 challenge of rock-paper-scissors, Culver’s was the winning choice.
As we sat and chatted about the last day and plans for the summer, a mom at a nearby table with a young girl and boy were enjoying lunch as well. Both children were very well-behaved. They were slowly finishing up and as they were gathering their things to leave, the little boy darted over toward our table and plucked a french fry from Henry’s tray and popped it in his mouth.
It all happened so fast that I don’t think the mom even noticed until Henry exclaimed, “My fry!”
I was immediately grinning, trying to reassure a stricken Henry that we did, in fact, have plenty of french fries to share. The other mom looked horrified and immediately started apologizing even though I told her it was really ok. We understood because we like french fries too!
She asked her son to say he was sorry and this sweet little boy said, “I’m sorry. I know better.” I told him thank you for apologizing but it was okay. Then Henry surprised me by offering the boy another fry! He took it and ate it with such joy. Then he held out his hand and said, “May I have more?”
Henry was on it and quickly offered him two more fries which the boy happily gobbled up. This mom looked so relieved and we struck up a brief conversation about kids, picky eaters, french fries and ice cream. I mean, we were at Culver’s after all. I totally get it!
I was so proud of Henry handling this situation with such grace. This had the potential of throwing my boy for quite a loop! Henry not only held it together but was able to turn his shock of a stranger grabbing food off of his plate into generously sharing with this boy!
After we left, I began to wonder, if there was some kind of moms-of-special needs-kids connection that this other mom sensed. You see, her boy had several characteristics of having Down syndrome. While you can’t always “see” Henry’s autism, it is obvious that something is a bit different in his speech and mannerisms if you watch and listen to him long enough. Had she noticed?
I admit I had been watching this other family all the while we were there. I was impressed how self-sufficient that young boy was; eating neatly, cleaning up after himself. All under the careful watch and only minimal instruction from his mother. Now I wonder if that mother had been watching us too. (Obviously, her little boy had been. Well, at least our fries were in his sights.) Usually I don’t concern myself with what other people think, though I do want to always want my kids to show good manners and courtesy toward others! I can only hope we left as positive an impression on her as they left on me!
And they like french fries and frozen custard! That must mean they are good people! Right?!?