Back story #1
Every April, the Autism Society of America’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter hosts a wonderful autism awareness event at the Philadelphia Zoo. For many years, the entire extended family would pile into vehicles and head to the zoo for the day.
Back story #2
Dude loves the zoo. However, when he was younger, he got physically tired very easily.
Dude was probably no more than 7 or 8 years old when this story takes place.
We had been at the zoo since early in the morning. It was warm for an April day, and we had been walking for most of it. Mom and Dude took a seat on a bench outside the kids’ treehouse building while my cousins and I ran around inside. Dude couldn’t handle the noise level in there.
Dad had separated from our group a little earlier to go help with volunteering. He called Mom on her cell phone to figure out where we were. With the noise coming from the treehouse area, Mom couldn’t hear him, so she stood up and walked a few feet away from the bench.
All moms know how this goes. You turn your head for one second and….
Dude was laying his head on the chest of a rather buxom older woman, who had sat down beside him on the bench.
Just resting his head there, like she was his mother. And the woman wasn’t reacting AT ALL. She was just sitting there with her hands folded in her lap, gazing lazily around her.
It turns out she had a niece with Down Syndrome and completely understood how kids sometimes do inappropriate things. She told my very embarrassed mother that Dude was a sweetheart and she didn’t mind at all.
You gotta love people like that 🙂