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Neighbors Clash Over Blue Light Supporting Autism


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When a family installed a blue light outside their home to mark Autism Awareness Month, they never expected it to bring a backlash from one of their neighbors.

Julie and Matthew Riccardi say that an anonymous note was left in the mailbox of their Charlotte, N.C. home criticizing the blue-colored light bulb they put outside their garage to promote autism awareness.

“Seriously? Purple, blue lights on the garage? Mom always said there is one bad apple in the bunch,” read the note, which also indicated that the area homeowners’ association would likely have a problem with the lighting color.

Contrary to the mystery critic’s prediction, however, the HOA was nothing but supportive of the Riccardis and their 10-year-old son, Deacon, who has autism. In fact, almost a dozen of the family’s neighbors opted to swap out their light bulbs for blue ones as well, reports WCNC, the Charlotte NBC affiliate.

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Comments (9 Responses)

  1. MsAmericanPatriot says:

    I live in Charlotte. I am glad this story had a happy ending. But most home owners associations are NOT that open minded though. Some have told veterans to take down their American flags which enrages me.

  2. Lauri Sue Robertson says:

    The writer of the note was correct, there often is one ‘bad apple’. What the author of the note didn’t understand was that he/she was that apple!

  3. Mike Rich says:

    I am glad the family was supported by their neighbors and the home owners association but in view of the fact that there was just one anonymous note complaining about the light is the headline “neighbors clash” really appropriate? There was no “clash”. A neighbor complained in a note. NeighborS actually rose to the occasion to join the family with the autistic member in supporting the “shine a [blue] light on autism” campaign.

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m glad the HOA was there to support this family and other families as well. Ignorance should be noted as a disability not autism.

  5. Jane Strauss says:

    Gee, I would wonder if the anonymous neighbor was one of us who realizes that Auti$m $peak$ does not include autistics or really speak for us. I know I would have put in a non-anonymous note, had they been MY neighbors.

  6. Glen S says:

    Most individuals understand that a contract binding document. When you purchase a house in some communities, you are asked to sign an HOA agreement. Sometimes is not optional. Sometimes it is optional, but you are granted certain community privileges such as access to the community pool. Sometimes it is strictly voluntary.

    But regardless of the circumstances under which the HOA agreement is signed, once signed it is legal and binding. To MsAmericanPatriot’s point, in almost every one of the cases in which a citizen was asked to remove the flag, they were also given the opportunity to move the pole into a position which did not violate the HOA agreement or get a flag of the requisite size. Need to get all of the facts before publicly espousing a view.

    In the case of the blue light, the HOA agreement actually became the defense of the family.

  7. The Musical Autist says:

    Jane Strauss – yes exactly!!!

  8. Fred says:

    A few points:

    1) Yes, the person who left the note was kind of a douche
    2) If you truly hate autistic people, then support Autism Speaks
    3) Ironically, flourescent lights like the ones sold by Autism Speaks are harmfully irritating to people with autism

  9. TurboQueenofEvrythnginIL says:

    THANK YOU SCOOP for your service to special populations!

    I LOVE THIS IDEA, I WILL HAVE TO BORROW IT for my community next APRIL!!!!

    RIGHT ON, Lauri Sue!!

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