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:
For ways to help friends and family understand Autism, download Autism Speaks Family Support Took Kit.
Image: Screen-grab/NBC10.com videoAdd a Comment