Recently, a friend at work sent me this story about a girl with autism who was treated very well by the staff of a Chili’s restaurant in Midvale, Utah. Apparently, the Facebook post that this story was based on has gone viral, with nearly 50,000 comments. And I can see why. If you have one or more kids on the autism spectrum, you don’t expect people to go out of their way to help you or your kid. Instead, you get used to the baffled stares, the cluck-clucking, and the occasionally mean comments about your children and your parenting skills—or lack thereof.
For Katie and myself, whenever we contemplate going out to dinner, we have to include a few questions that most families wouldn’t bother to ask. Questions like: “Is the place too dark? Too bright? Is it noisy or quiet? Is there plenty of space between the tables? Do we know if the staff is flexible? Is there more than one way out in case of a melt down or in case one or more of the kids needs to take a break and get some fresh air?” So as you can imagine, we don’t go out that much, and when we do, it’s usually to our local McDonald’s, where many of the people already know us.
Anyway, as I said, I read this piece about a week ago, and it kept popping up on my Facebook account. Friends messaged me about it, or posted it to my wall, or shared it on their own walls. Clearly, it moved a lot of people. And one of the best reactions to this story I have read comes from a man in Canada who has a son with autism. His name is Stuart Duncan, and he writes a blog called “Autism from a Father’s Point of View.” Check it out, and see what you think.