If you have children you know how challenging it can sometimes be to take them out to eat in public places, especially when they are young. It can be even more difficult for parents of special needs kids, who sometimes feel like they must isolate themselves from public gatherings for fear of making a scene. Fear or no fear, sometimes parents just simply must face the crowds and take their family out to dinner, who of us does not deserve such a pleasure now and again? For one family in North Carolina, their somewhat chaotic Friday night meal was met with a moving note from a mystery diner that is bringing many people to tears as the note goes viral.
Ashley England took her family to a pizza place in China Grove, North Carolina. Her son, Riley, is special needs, and experiences multiple seizures per day, sometimes up to one hundred- she says. Riley has endured three major brain surgeries and has never really been able to communicate normally with his parents. This obviously causes frustration to the boy and his mother says it sometimes inspires outbursts, as he tries to make his feelings known.
After a somewhat noisy dinner filled with cell phone throwing, screaming and hitting the table, the mother knew that some of the other patrons were more than a bit annoyed. She is used to it, as this has been her life since Riley was young, and he is now eight years old. As the waitress came over to bring their check, she paused and commented “I will try to do this without crying, but another customer has paid for your bill tonight and wanted me to give you this note.” The note read as follows:
Ashley says her sons lack of ability to communicate often causes people to behave badly and judgmentally toward her. The note came as a great reward, lifting the burdens of every other remark and sneer she has ever received. She comments that no one else will ever know what it is like unless they have been through what she has, so she knows no one really has room to talk. But it is a beautiful thing when even one gesture of kindness peers through the darkness, it makes all the other ‘mean words’ easier to take. In her words:
“To have someone do that small act towards us shows that some people absolutely understand what we are going through and how hard it is to face the public sometimes. They made me cry, blessed me more than they know – I felt like out of all the rude negative comments that we are faced with – these outweighs them. The people who care!”
Random acts of kindness are not seen enough in today’s news. It is refreshing to hear about the mystery diner who left such a moving note to a family that so greatly needed their words. Though we will never know who left the note, they must feel amazing watching it spread across the net as it has been over the past few days. Maybe this act will encourage more of us to be a little kinder and reach out to someone today.
Written by: Stasia Bliss