While people often fail to show empathy or to walk in the shoes of another, a kind stranger took time from his seaside outing to meet a little boy with autism right where he was.
Natalie Fernando of Essex, England was recently walking with her 5-year-old son, Rudy. The little boy Rudy, better known as Roo by family and friends, has autism and a few other diagnoses as well. There is a route at Southend-on-Sea that Rudy enjoys, but on this day the mom-and-son stroll became particularly challenging for Natalie.
"My son loves to walk, but he hates to turn around and walk back, we usually try to walk in a circuit to avoid this but on his favourite walk with the boats we have no choice but to turn back. This will often lead to a meltdown, one which I can normally handle but on the back of two weeks out of school today was too much for him and me," Fernando explained on her Facebook page, Better to Be Different.
Meltdown Derails Walk
Those of us with kids have experienced at least a few embarrassing parenting moments. Perhaps, you've fought with the too-active toddler in church. Or, maybe you wanted to hide your face when your kiddo failed to say "thank you" and tossed aside birthday or Christmas gifts. Possibly, you've been mortified by an abundance of attitude by your tween or teen. It's not fun!
Natalie, a psychotherapist and blogger, knows something about raising kids. She's the parent of two beautiful kids with autism. But, even Natalie struggled that day when Rudy became frustrated and overwhelmed.
As Rudy grew more upset, Natalie offered apologies to those around but was met with stares and disapproving looks of passersby.
That's when a gentleman named Ian approached. And what happened next is beautiful!
Stranger’s Compassion For Little Boy With Autism
Instead of judgment or even fear, Ian offered his help to Natalie. Initially, Ian asked Rudy his name. Then, after learning that Rudy doesn't always understand, Ian got on the ground for face-to-face interaction with the little boy with autism. In those few moments, Ian was able to calm Rudy, perhaps preventing a longer or potentially physical tantrum.
This fellow named Ian gave exactly what Rudy and Natalie needed that day. He approached in a unique and caring way that helped the little boy with autism reset. He gave grace and compassion to Natalie when others were not. And, he set an example for those watching and reading so that maybe we will be more likely to jump in and offer help instead of stepping around a hard situation.
If Ian is not already a parent, it sounds like he should be. We can always use more like him on the team!
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8
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h/t: Good News Network
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Better to be Different