Homeless Man Immediately Brings A Smile On This Autistic Boy During A Complete Meltdown. Worth Reading.
My family and I were homeless when I was about to turn 13. My youngest brother is severely autistic.
We were standing in line for lunch at the local soup kitchen, which opened at 11 am. We had arrived at 6 in the morning, and were decently close to the door – only about 20 other people in front of us. My father had just returned from taking my youngest brother for yet another walk around the block, as he had begun fighting and stimming, and biting himself in frustration. After another few minutes in line, it was clear that he had more than reached his tiny 9 year old limit and had begun to lose it.
There was a couple of guys who were dressed in ratty t-shirts, jean vests covered in patches, and plenty of veteran memorabilia, mostly from Vietnam. Think those little ribbons or the POW-MIA patches. Each of them had either an old, dirty backpack or a trash bag which held all of their personal belongings in the world.
One of the men, in a wheelchair and missing a leg, seeing my little brothers frustration and hearing my mother explain yet again that he had severe autism, rolled up to the five of us – two parents and three young kids, all sunburnt from the Florida sun with no place to call home – and unhooked his one treasured position.
He had a little stuffed monkey that was hooked onto his steering portion of the wheelchair. It was the only clean thing about the man, or really anyone else in line. It had a little vest like his, a tiny jean jacket with a small POW patch on its back. He gave it to my little brother, and my little brother immediately hugged it and cuddled with it, calming down.
I’ll never forget his words: “He looks like he could use it more than me.”
It was his one and only real, treasured possession and he gave it to the little boy that was crying.
Now, I’m in a position to give back. And I do whenever I can – If I have the opportunity, I help those who need it. But I don’t think I could ever “repay” that single gesture, so I just try to live my life the best way I possibly can.