Yesterday was a good day. Sawyer went to school, Evelyn went to gymnastics, Cobe got his chocolate croissant. Kellie got home from work early. We went strawberry picking. We were lucky to bump into a close friend and her wonderful children. We picked up Evelyn from gymnastics as a family. So we rode the wave to extend our day to a quick dinner. It was just that kind of day.
All was well. There was no wait to sit. Each kid was able to try out an electronic device at the table. Everyone was happy playing and talking. Our food came quick. We got to eat and just enjoy a nice summer evening as a family. It was one of those moments when we were no different from anyone else. This was until Sawyer’s screen shut off and he belted out a scream. A matter of 3 seconds changed everything.
Typically a scream at a restaurant doesn’t make anyone blink. Kids have their moments. Autism or not, life happens. However, the reaction of the woman sitting across from us was shocking. She shouted out due to Sawyer’s scream. Her actions implied that she wanted us to know that she was annoyed.
As I tilted my head in her direction and as Kellie comforted Sawyer to settle him, Kellie stopped and turned. She didn’t freeze. It was like a boxer rising from the canvas after being knocked down. In pure calmness and class, Kellie explained to the woman Sawyer is autistic and didn’t understand what was happening to his screen The woman’s response, “I wish I was warned.” Disgusted. Offended. Outraged. Who could even suggest such a thing? How could someone even think this? She in fact wanted to be told that he was autistic.
Kellie responded with the fact that we will not keep Sawyer home and hidden from the community. He has every right to be out to dinner with everyone else. The conversation ended quickly. Kellie took the kids, and I waited to pay for the bill. I had eyes on me sitting there sans family. My head was up, I was upset but not defeated. Our server was outraged and apologized. She took money off the bill though I didn’t accept by doubling her tip. A family across from us sent desert to go. They were complete strangers who provided the kindest comfort.
As I thanked them, many approached Kellie and apologized to her for the customers behavior. However, the damage was done. We were unified and appreciated the support. We couldn’t escape the notion of what would be if we weren’t there to speak up on Sawyer’s behalf. This is our reality. We have love and support. Though we have our worries. Sawyer is 6 years old. He is lovable, charismatic, funny, intelligent, and a showman. He is autistic and may display behavior that can be disruptive.
Just know this. We won’t be attaching bracelets or flashing blue lights to announce his needs. He’s our son and we are proud to be his parents. His brother and sister are proud to be his sibling. So if one person expects to be warned, I’m sorry to disappoint her though I can promise her this.
The Rubin’s aren’t hiding or scared. We are an autism family. There is this your warning. We are here to educate and inspire. There’s your warning ❤️.