Posts Tagged ‘ Good news ’

Strangers Pay A Restaurant Bill For Students With Autism: Good Deed Alert!

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Last week, a class of New Jersey elementary school students had lunch at Jose Tejas, a local Mexican restaurant. They were there to celebrate Cinco de Mayo—but also to learn how to behave in a social setting. All 25 of the kids have autism. Accompanying them were 21 teachers, speech therapists and paraprofessionals, as reported by NBC News. When they finished their meal, they got a big surprise: their bill was being paid.

A couple dining at Jose Tejas had noticed the group. They’re regulars at the restaurant who have a grandchild with special needs. They also wanted to celebrate national Teacher Appreciation Day. “The manager came up to us and said, ‘I just want to let you know that a fellow patron wants to pay your bill,’” said teacher Jeannette Gruskowski. “We were speechless. We were all crying.”

The couple wished to remain anonymous. So the students made a big card for them and got it posted in the restaurant, in the hopes the couple would see it. It read, “There are no words to express how touched and grateful we are to you. Your act of generosity will be embedded in our hearts.”

I love this story, but particularly appreciate that the couple behind the gesture have a grandkid with special needs. On the surface, this about the kindness of strangers—but it’s also about how having a family member with special needs connects you with that community. When you have a child with disabilities, at times you feel alienated from the world. Acts of kindness like this are a heartening reminder: We are not alone.

From my other blog:

15 superpowers of special needs moms

Win a $100 Lands’ End shopping spree 

For ways to help friends and family understand Autism, download Autism Speaks Family Support Took Kit.

A Test for Autism Risk: Head Lag
A Test for Autism Risk: Head Lag
A Test for Autism Risk: Head Lag

Image: Screen-grab/ video

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A Bank Pays Off A Special Needs Mom’s Mortgage: Happy News Alert

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

OK, here’s your happy news of the week. Maybe your entire month.

Lisa Anderson lives in Austell, Georgia with her 20-year-old twin daughters, Amber and Alicia Whatley, who both have cerebral palsy. Back in 2008, Anderson was laid off from her job at a local plant that makes industrial cleaning products, as reported by The Marietta Daily Journal. The single mom started taking online classes with a university, but went through her entire 401k savings plan to pay for living expenses. She declared bankruptcy. After fifteen years of living in their home, the three were facing foreclosure.

First up: The mayor of the town, Joe Jerkins, and several friends pitched in to buy the home. Still, Anderson owed JPMorgan Chase $100,000. A month ago, the bank called to say her mortgage payments would be “forgiven,” much to Anderson’s disbelief. At a news conference, a JPMorgan Chase Vice President said, “Sometimes exceptional problems call for exceptional solutions.”

Said Anderson, “It really, truly, sincerely is a miracle for me.” Said Alicia, “I never thought that God was going to be that good.”

Image of ranch house: Flickr/Jen Wallace

Cerebral Palsy: Challenges and Triumphs
Cerebral Palsy: Challenges and Triumphs
Cerebral Palsy: Challenges and Triumphs

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