Today while I was waiting in line at Subway I realized the guy in front of me was the same Target employee who had irritated me 20 minutes ago. I had walked by him looking for something with a clear ” I can’t find what I am looking for” face and all he did was look away and moved to the side so I could pass. I thought “thanks for the help” and went about my business. Little did I know that in twenty minutes I would walk out of Subway with eyes full of tears because of this man. Not because he hurt me but because after he paid he walked way from the register without his food. I asked the cashier if he forgot it to which she kindly said ” no, he has a routine he does.” It hit me fast and hard, he was Autistic . As I handed him his food I felt the tears welling up. This is one of the hardest parts of having a child with Autism is that you never know when an ordinary, everyday event is going to rock your world.
The first reason I was crying was because we don’t know many people with autism (children or adults) so we really have no idea what Blaze will be like in the future and that is scary. More scary than I could ever explain. So when I see an Autistic person that is older than Blaze it is emotionally overwhelming because it conjures up fears and realities that we have not yet had to realize. My head is not in the sand about what his future may hold but it is definitely easier to just take it day by day. It is the only way it is manageable.
The second reason I was crying was because of what I had thought about this man only 20 minutes before. I just assumed he was rude. I am embarrassed and ashamed that I misjudged him so badly. This is exactly what I fear other people will do to my baby. I never want the world to be cruel to Blaze and I hope and pray everyday that he is accepted and loved. So it really bothers me when I am the one who is casting judgement in the wrong direction. I guess God and I still have some work to do on me.
I am sharing this story as a reminder to all of us (including myself)not to be quick to judge and to be kind to people…even those that seem strange. You never know why they are acting the way they are and in a world where 1 in 68 children is being diagnosed with Autism you are bound to see people with odd behaviors.
Be kind, don’t judge.