A mother of an autistic child wrote this letter to the man who sat next to her on a plane trip.
Travelling, or even just being out in public, can be a challenge. Even though most people ignore families with autism and most of the rest are content to simply glare in disapproving silence, there are always those who feel free to share their opinion of our "bad parenting". (And then there are those who believe they have the right to physically discipline "misbehaving" children ... luckily an even smaller minority.)
It makes being in public stressful and adding in the stress of actually trying to get somewhere only makes it worse. I find myself on high alert for every trip to the grocery store or out to the park, which means these trips don't happen as often as they could and tend to be shorter than they might be otherwise.
However, sometimes there are those who display more than just compassion. Like the mom in the letter, I would have been terrified if someone in an expensive suit with a briefcase full of papers sat down next to us. Business people tend to have done well by getting things done, which means they don't always react well to mishaps. I would have been full of trepidation. Will Alex's non-stop singing bother him? What if Alex gets into the papers and starts to shred them (one of his favourite activities)? If it was Nathan, will the incomprehensible chatter be an issue? Or something I haven't even been able to anticipate.
To find friendship instead of condemnation is awesome.
And, on a side note, yay for not assuming that any man who isn't cold and aloof around children must be a predator. This is something I'm trying very hard to counteract for my boys, the assumption that the male is always after something.
It's good to get reminders that there are compassionate people out in the world and that it isn't as frightening a place as we might worry.