Family health

Restaurant manager responds to child with autism

In honour of Random Acts of Kindness Week, Anchel Krishna responds to the recent buzz about a restaurant manager’s response to a little girl with autism.

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Syona. Photo: Anchel Krishna

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

Have you read the article about Tony Posnanski, the restaurant manager who wrote an open letter to a mother and her young daughter?

In case you haven’t heard the story, here’s the basic scoop: A mom and her five-year-old daughter went for dinner at Posnanski’s restaurant. A nearby table complained that the mom and her daughter were too loud. Posnanski went to the table, but before he could say anything the mom asked him, “Do you know what it’s like to have a child with autism?” She didn’t ask in a negative or confrontational manner. It was just a question; just an automatic response after likely having had this conversation at many, many restaurants before. But Posnanski did something different. He told them to enjoy their meal and he took care of their bill.

Posnanski’s blog post went viral and made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter feeds. And it made my heart happy.

He showed complete strangers a little bit of kindness, decency and compassion. He didn’t pity them. He simply saw an opportunity to make someone’s day a little brighter and he took it. That’s a memory that mom will likely carry around forever. That memory will get her through some tough times and that moment will give her the fuel to keep going out with her daughter in public—despite the potential challenges.

Read more: How to teach your child to be charitable >

Sometimes, when you have a child with special needs, the day-to-day things that we generally take for granted can be the most challenging: Researching public locations to see if they are accessible, wondering if there is going to be enough space for your child’s mobility equipment at a restaurant, or wondering how your child will respond to the sensory environment, etc. Some of these things are under our control and parents of children with special needs become experts at creating or frequenting environments that work for our kiddos. But sometimes, there are things that are simply out of our control. So when someone takes a situation that is out of our control and takes the time and effort to show us some compassion and decency, it makes a huge difference.

With one simple gesture, Tony Posnanski made a difference for every single parent that read the article. And this blog post is just my way of saying thank you to Mr. Posnanski.

Do you practice random acts of kindness? Have you ever been on the receiving end?

Read more about Random Acts of Kindness Week