Dear old man in Tesco,
I didn’t want to go shopping today, I had to. We’d just returned from our holidays yesterday and needed a few essentials, things in our house that we can’t be without but many families probably don’t even need.
My daughter was singing from the moment she stepped foot out of our car ‘run run as fast as you can you can’t catch me i’m the gingerbread man’.
People were smiling as they walked past, she has that affect on most people you see.
Not you though.
I know she was loud, I noticed your hearing aid and I know her speech isn’t very clear but you didn’t need to look at her like she was something you’d just trodden in.
You didn’t have to shake your judgemental head at me or my daughter.
She wasn’t being naughty, she wasn’t out of control, she was sat as good as gold in a shopping trolley made for disabled people singing, being herself and most importantly she was happy like she always is.
Why was I letting her belt out a song over and over in Tesco, a song that wasn’t crystal clear and louder than most kids in there? Why didn’t I tell her to be quiet?
Because when you’re told your precious child may never speak and they prove those people wrong, you celebrate, you let her sing as much as she wants, you soak it in, every single word makes you smile, because you are so very proud of her and her voice, the one you never thought you would get to hear is the most beautiful sound in the whole wide world.
Luckily her autism blesses her with the inability to notice, she was oblivious. Its also blessed me with a very thick skin but I am not so blind to people’s attitudes.
If you’d known our little girl couldn’t go shopping a year or so ago because it caused her so much distress perhaps you’d have been kinder.
If you knew that we were told there was a very good chance that this beautiful child may never utter a single word perhaps you’d have smiled at her.
If you knew how much hard work our daughter has put in to get to where she is today, despite her disability and the stigma attached to it, and how much hard work she will continue to put in every single day of her life because the world is a confusing place for her, perhaps you’d have looked at her differently.
If you knew just how amazing our little girl is, what she has to endure, how happy she always is, how many people she inspires and how much love she has in her heart perhaps you’d have saved your distain for someone who actually deserved it.
If you knew…………
But you didn’t know, you didn’t ask nor did I expect you to. We can’t stop and ask every single person their life story. I get that. What we can do though is be kind, always.
Kindness costs nothing, a smile can make somebody’s day, a kind gesture, a ‘hello’.
Its funny how my daughter, just aged seven, with autism who once ‘didn’t understand emotion’ knows this, she has manners, she understands kindness, she’s always polite.
You see she spreads kindness and happiness wherever she goes, without one ounce of judgement or nastiness in her very big, very pure heart.
She knows more about what makes a good person than most of the people she will ever meet in her life, that’s what makes her special, that’s what makes her a better person than most and we could not be prouder.
She could teach you a lot, if only you’d given her a few seconds instead of your dark stare and shake of the head.