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Behavior Outburst Prompts Act Of Kindness


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When an 8-year-old who’s nonverbal became loud and hit the table while out to eat over the weekend, his family got a pleasant surprise.

Ashley England was out to dinner with her family Friday night in China Grove, N.C. when her son Riley got “a little rowdy,” she says.

“Riley was getting loud and hitting the table and I know it was aggravating to some people,” England told WBTV.

That’s when a waitress came over to let the family know that another diner had paid their bill and left a note.

“God only gives special children to special people,” read the message.

England said she was especially touched by the mystery diner’s gesture, indicating that the past few weeks have been rough, particularly during public outings.

“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,” England told the Charlotte, N.C. CBS affiliate. “Little did he know what struggles we had been facing lately and this was surely needed at that moment.”

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Comments (14 Responses)

  1. jackie says:

    My faith in humanity thanks you for that story!

  2. Marcia says:

    We received a similar act of kindness as well two years ago. We went out for dinner at a Pizza Hut in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. We have a family of 5 – my husband and I, my then 14 year old son with Down Syndrome & Autism, 8 year old daughter and 2 year old son. A man that dined alone at a table next to ours paid for our bill (which was easily over $70.00). He just wanted to remain anonymous and to this day, we still don’t know who did it. What a pleasant surprise!

  3. Lauri Sue Robertson says:

    I’d be interested to know if there was anything anyone could have done to actually assist the family in this circumstance? I realize that paying the bill was a lovely gesture, but anything else that could have helped?

  4. Susan says:

    My son and I were at John Harvard’s restaurant for lunch while he was on the Christmas holiday break. He is 11, non verbal and very cuddly, affectionate, and silly as he always is with the way he communicates. When it came time to pay the bill the waitress said to me that the lady at the bar took care of it. We went over to thank her and she said, “No I have to thank you. Watching you with your son and the way you were with each other just made my day, my year.” It was December 31st. I gave her a big hug. It was a wonderful way to start the new year remembering the kindness and generosity of others.

  5. Electric_Pink says:

    @Lauri Sue Robertson, I don’t think so. Each person is different, whether that person has a disability or not. The family will have to come up with techniques to help calm their child in public and focus his attention elsewhere. What works for one family may not work for another. I do believe, however, that being out in public as often as possible with their son will help this family learn how to effectively handle his outbursts. I would hope that more people would be understanding and patient, and not just write off this child as misbehaving. I think the anonymous diner’s kindness and empathy was the just sort of understanding and encouragement needed to help this family in their struggles, and to keep trying.

  6. Claudia Nava says:

    My son is diagnosed with Moderate Intellecual Disability, Oppposition Defiance Disorder (OOD), Obssesive Compulsive Disorder, and delayed speech. In my case my son and I were at the groceries, and at the check out lane. He was getting frustrated but I remained calmed and as onlookers just stared and moved away the lady in front of me overheard everthing she remained cool and occasionnaly smile at me. By the time it was my turn to check out. The cashier checked me out and said the lady in front of you paid your groceries. She also said, she admired your patients and to take care of the Angel got Blessed you with, which is true, my son, is a true blessing to our family!!

  7. Darla says:

    It is such a gift when someone understands and acknowledges the struggle a family goes through when one of their members has special needs and acts out in public. Sharing stories like this also spreads awareness and sends a powerful message. Beautiful!

  8. Raquelita says:

    This is such an amazing story. Having my son diagnosed recently with autism this story hits home. Those outburst seems to be at times embarrazing and it feels really good when people sympathized. what was written totally touched my family personal journey. Because What was written on the note here is what i keep telling myself.

  9. Kay says:

    Its nice to hear kindness is all around us.We are in Louisiana. My daughter who is DD was out with her PCA for lunch. She was excited to use a coupon she won at bingo at this new restauraunt. But come to find out in the small print, it was only good on certain days. She did not expect to have to pay so she had no extra money. Her PCA called me and we agreed she would pay with the understanding that I would pay her back. Well, when she asked for the bill the waitress said someone had paid the bill and the restaraunt offered them free dessert!! Awesome kindness!!

  10. Callista says:

    Eating out is a luxury and they probably didn’t really need to have their bill paid–but that wasn’t the point. The point was to say, “You’re part of our community. We accept you. We’re here for you.” Paying for the family’s dinner was more a matter of communication than charity–maybe a way to cheer them up when they were evidently having a rough day. After all, for a parent, what’s rougher than seeing a child distressed?

  11. marcia tewell says:

    Nice to have a positive action.

  12. Amy Landes says:

    Every so often, one’s faith in humanity is restored.

  13. kim says:

    I live in Virginia and my 22 year old son had a melt down at the local grocery store. He became aggressive and hit me. We had to leave our cart in the check out line. He continued his melt down in the parking lot. A young woman saw me upset, put down her sandwich and got out of her car and gave me a hug and asked if she could do anything. There wasn’t he just has to work through it.
    A few minutes later a young man came out of the store. He had purchased our groceries, refused money and said “I hope your day gets better.” I went home and told my husband through tears what had happened. I was so struck by their actions that I couldn’t stop crying and couldn’t explain why. It was because I wasn’t alone,they were both so kind to us strangers. But what was eye opening was that many “friends and neighbors” just avoided eye contact and went on their way not inquiring if we were OK. People we had done favors for. Great to know that some people are raised to be giving, still.

  14. Crystal says:

    When I was younger I knew that my moms friend who has a daughter that something was different with her. What I didn’t know was that She had autism until I was old enough to understand it. For some reason I seemed to be drawn to be near her. She can be aggressive but still that didn’t seem to bother me. After high school her mother got me a job at DDI. With the kids who range from 10 to 13. On my first day a young boy had grab me by my hair and head butted me twice making me blackout. I went to the doctors and they said I had a slight concussion. But that didn’t stop me. I was back at work the next day. I fell in love with those kids. There was one girl named Emma who I grew very close to. I even ended up babysitting for her outside of the school. She was very aggressive even with the headbutting me giving me a black and blue eyes and scratching and biting me that didn’t stop me. There is something special about people who do have autism and suffer from it. I give so much credit to the families who have children or family members with autism. You have to be one strong person to be able to handle it and yet there are so many people who are handling it amazingly. It’s the small gestures that help people get through their days when they’re having a hard time. So I send all my love to those families.

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