Many parents of autistic children grow accustomed to their child’s very specific needs and habits. That makes every venture into the outside world a challenge, because strangers may not be so sensitive or supportive of a kid with those special qualities.
But sometimes people come along who–with just a bit of kindness and patience–can make a WORLD of difference for those parents and their kids.
That’s what happened recently at a Subway restaurant, when mom Sharon Weiser entered with her son, who is on the autism spectrum. As they stood in line, her son pointed to the exact meat he wanted on his sandwich: ham and pepperoni, which he could see on the display counter, and nothing else. The staff made the sandwich with pre-prepped meat and handed it to the mom and son, who took it home.
But they had to come right back 15 minutes later, because Weiser’s son wouldn’t eat the sub. The pre-prepped meat wasn’t the same color as what was in the display counter, so her son was frustrated and upset. As she briefly explained the problem, the staff remade the sandwich quickly, exactly the “right” way–no questions asked.
“What you don’t know is he has sensory issues with many things like clothes, noise and food. He only eats about 12 things period, and venturing into Subway was a big deal for him,” the grateful mom wrote in a blog post on TheMighty. “He came unglued when the meat didn’t look the same in that sandwich, and it put him into an anxiety attack. Every day is a challenge to prep food for him that he will not find too crunchy, or too sticky or too… something. It is beyond his control.”
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The Subway counterperson’s simple act meant everything to the frazzled mom, who was thankful to quickly get exactly what her hungry son needed with no curious questions or rudeness from the busy staff.
“Thank you, for your kindness — for just understanding and making the sandwich again with the same meat, only a different color, to make a little boy less anxious so he could eat. You made our night.”