A mom from Toronto, Sarah Baker, took her son, Andrew, out to a snow park to go “tubing.” While most people have no problem understanding the process, sitting in the tube, keeping balance, and learning to hold on was a lot for Andrew. It was difficult, but to his mother’s joy, the staff at the park wanted to do everything they could to help.
To the staff at the Snow Valley Tube Park, working the Sunday morning shift on February 5, 2017:
This is a Thank You.
Thank you for pausing the tow-rope a thousand times for Andrew.
Thank you for remaining calm when Andrew rolled out of his tube, again and again, on the many attempts to get him to the top that first time.
Thank you for not making us feel bad that 30+ people were waiting in line while we created a hold-up for what felt like an eternity.
Thank you for working with us, not against us, to figure it out.
Thank you for doing your job. And for showing others how it’s done– to treat people with dignity and respect, no matter what.
And thank-you to Megan for running up the length of the tow rope hill, alongside Andrew sitting in his tube, coaching him to stay *in* the tube ?, and cheering him when he (finally) successfully got to the top. Thank you for letting me hug you, overcome with my own emotions!
To all the staff at the top of the hill who cheered loud for Andrew every time he made it up.
Your efforts paid off, you see, because once he got it, he got it for good. I couldn’t wipe the smile off his face (his cheeks must have hurt), and the look of pride and glee was unmistakable.
And now you’ve met Andrew, and you’ve been given one of the gifts of autism: The chance to RISE UP and choose to experience patience, tolerance, compassion and love.
At the end of 5 rides, I hugged Andrew so hard and mouthed the words ‘I’m so proud of you’ only because I was too choked up to actually get them out.
It’s not a lack of belief in his ability; it’s an acknowledgement of the effort that’s required – on his part, and mine – to overcome obstacles. To persevere. And to shine a light for others to see the ABILITY in a “dis”ability.
Thank you for your part in today,
It could have been a terrible experience for everyone involved. The employees could have lost their cool and made the family feel unwelcome. Other riders could have made them feel awful for taking longer than normal. People could have been rude about the wait times or made Andrew feel bad that he couldn’t get the hang of it at first…but they didn’t.
Everyone at the park pulled together, recognized that Andrew needed a little extra time, and made the experience memorable for everyone. One of the employees commented on mom’s thank-you post to let her know that he would never forget that morning.
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