by John O’Leary
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia
As a little boy I frequently attracted attention.
My skin hadn’t yet fully healed after the fire. My body was wrapped in bandages. My core temperature was difficult to control, so my sisters constantly fanned me as I sat in my wheelchair.
And, as one of six kids, when my family arrived, we made quite a boisterous entrance!
I was reminded of those days, those “entrances,” those stares, when I heard about an experience Cynthia Tipton had at dinner with her family at a restaurant in St. Louis recently. (Read the full story here.) Let me share it with you.
Her son, Noland, is 10 and lives with high-functioning autism. It can be difficult to control his emotions; on this day a little teasing from his sister set him off.
Noland started screaming. Cynthia quickly knelt beside him, stroked his back and began whispering in his ear, hoping to calm him before other families’ dinners were interrupted.
It was not working.
The screams intensified.
A few more minutes of soothing her son passed before the crying quieted, Noland relaxed and the other families turned back to their own tables.
Watching their waitress approach, Cynthia was certain there’d been complaints. In the past, she’d been asked to leave and assumed the request was coming again. She readied herself for the awkward exit when the waitress handed the family their bill for dinner.