It’s the time of year when malls and shops are busier than ever. Backpacks, school supplies and first day outfits are highly sought after – and every family is scrambling to get their back-to-school lists checked off.
One mother and her autistic son understand this better than most – and were absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness displayed by a sales associate at their local Clarks shoe store. Gem Salter, mom to River Salter, posted to the Clark Shoes Facebook page that around this time of year, shopping malls are particularly stressful for her 6-year-old son.
Living with autism, River finds loud, crowded stores overwhelming. Salter mentioned this on her recent shopping trip with River when she was met by Aaran Daniel, a salesperson at Clarks. Upon hearing this, Daniel adjusted the experience immediately for the mother and son.
“Without hesitation, Aaran led us away from the noise and crowds to a staff room and placed a Do Not Disturb sign on the door,” writes Salter in a Facebook post that has more than 270,000 likes.
“He was very patient with River, who was anxious, and went and got lots of different shoes for him to try on.”
Before the mother and son duo left the store, Daniel told the pair to come back anytime, saying he’d be happy to make the experience as comfortable as possible for River.
“Aaran also gave us the store number and said they’d happily book us an appointment before the store opens so that it’s quiet,” she wrote.
This positive experience resonated with Salter, a relief to the mom who has not always had such heartwarming interactions.
“As a mother, as an autism parent, it will feel like the world is brutal and unkind and like nothing you do is right. It will feel like the world is judging you, judging your child. You’ll turn on the news and the world seems doomed. You’ll wonder if things will ever be OK again. But then, when you least expect it, someone will restore your faith in humanity. You’ll realize that your wizard may never fit in with our Muggle’s world, but that Muggles are getting more accommodating of wizards,” Salter told Scary Mommy.
“People get that you’re doing the best you can, and are rooting for your child to succeed.”
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