Being a mom is so difficult, and when you add caring for a child with special needs into the mix, it’s even harder.
Jamie Mathews Heustess is the mom to a sweet boy who happens to have autism named Ian. Sometimes Ian has bad days, and sometimes Jamie does, too. They were recently at a Georgia Cracker Barrell when Jamie’s husband decided to take Ian home because he had a meltdown. Jamie was exhausted, and that’s when her waitress noticed something was wrong and stepped in to make her day way better.
Ian was sad that his “Finding Nemo” toy wasn’t Dory or Nemo, and some autistic children have trouble when their expectations are challenged. This made it a really difficult day for Jamie, who loves her son and describes him as “sweet” and a “good kid.”
After her husband left with Ian, Jamie placed a to-go order with the waitress, Kailyn, who had been so patient with their family. Much to Jamie’s surprise, her meal was completely paid for and Kailyn had written her an encouraging note.
Read all about this random act of kindness and the difference it made in this mom’s life in her own words.
“I had a good cry walking out of our local Cracker Barrel in Pooler, GA. I had posted earlier about the trials and adventures of trying to have a dinner out when you have a child with autism. It is truly hit or miss…most days we do OK. After Chris and Ian left, our waitress came to ask if we were ordering. This was probably her 5th or 6th time stopping by the table. I said yes, a to go order, just for me. She asked if my husband or son wanted anything and I said no, my husband took our son home to reduce stimuli around him. I told her Ian was autistic and had had a long day, awards, karate, Wal-Mart. His breaking point was the Nemo/Dory toy-that was neither of those characters. By this time I was crying and having a moment, not because I was embarrassed that my son is autistic, but because he is a good kid and I didn’t want anyone to think he was just a spoiled kid being a brat. Our server was gracious and sweet. She said it was not a problem, that she would get my order in quickly. I sat quietly and made a post to my page about the realities of autism that you never quite know until you experience them. About 15 minutes later, out comes my server with my bag of dinner. She smiled and told me that my dinner had been taken care of, no need for payment. I started crying all over again. I asked if she was sure and she reassured me it was taken care of, not to worry. I cried walking out, sure the other customers and employees thought I was crazy. There was a piece of paper stapled to my bag, I thought it was the receipt…..no…. it was something far more precious. In the midst of my own meltdown she reached out with words of encouragement and a kind heart:
She wrote, ‘Your child is amazing, mommy. Be strong, keep your head up. You are doing a great job. Have a great night. Your server, Kailyn’
My note from Kailyn is now hanging on my fridge for those moments I need to be reminded of the kindness of strangers.”