Thank you for seeing us today as we courageously and cheerfully greeted you and invited you over to our business display. I saw your face clearly and I could see the decision play out in your mind. Your eyes gave me a window into your soul that made the split second decision of whether or not to add to the statistic of the 80% that walk the other way. I could see that you almost gave in to the easy out to politely wave and then uncomfortably rush out to your car. You could have avoided us and the world would never have noticed your oversight, but I know that something inside of you convinced you that you would be missing out if you did. I just want to thank you for smiling wide and making a beeline straight for my friends. You didn’t beeline for me so that I could guide you because I am familiar and average like you, but you headed straight for my beautifully unique and extraordinary friends with special needs, and let me tell you, you made their day.
I didn’t catch your name but I wish I could tell you that you are one of the beautiful few, and I am sure you know now, that you are one of the lucky ones. Thank you for learning our names and spending a few extra minutes engaging in broken but sincere conversation. Thank you for enthusiastically expressing your appreciation of their hard work. Thank you for letting them teach you and change you. Thank you for looking them in the eye and listening patiently. Thank you for handing your money for your purchase to my friends with Special Needs and not to me. Thank you for directing your questions to them and not to me. Thank you for speaking loudly through your actions that you believe that my friends with special needs have value beyond measure. I pray that your actions erased the all of the negative reactions and grimaces of the day. I pray that my friends will remember the way you treated them, because your actions spoke truth.
I wish I would have learned your name and your story. I wish I would have said more to encourage your young heart and tell you that, though you were young, you were so very wise. I wish I would have told you that you gave me hope that integration can and should work. Thank you for helping us establish a new normal. I want to thank you not just for buying so many of our amazing products, but I want to thank you for ignoring me through the entire process. It is so foreign to me to not have to be a buffer for my friends, and today you gave me the privilege of standing back and witnessing my friends spread their wings, soar and succeed completely INDEPENDENTLY! There is so much negativity in the news today, so because I can’t tell you in person, I wanted to put it out there to encourage others like you encouraged me. You were an everyday hero today because you chose to defy the status quo and you chose to embrace a new normal where people with special needs are treated with dignity and respect. And hey, it might just happen that maybe you will come across this blog someday and smile because you know that it was written about you, and you will realize that you played a part in changing the world for good today.