For children with disabilities, it is very important for them to be nurtured and equipped with the necessary skills they need to practice independence. For their parents, giving their kids with a disability an opportunity to practice independence, even in small ways, can be a nerve-wracking experience.
With all sorts of people we encounter every day, parents of children with a disability are especially cautious on how the others will interact to their precious children.
The supportive parents of a teenage boy with autism named Owen, are working on building his confidence and life skills to practice independence in his own little ways. For kids like Owen, daily social interactions can be a herculean task especially when sarcasm, rhetorical questions, and the complicated aspects of communications are thrown into the conversation.
As a part of Owen’s task of practicing his independence, his dad, Pat Long was teaching Owen how to order for a takeout menu from a restaurant.
“We knew all day we were going to eat at Sun Restaurant. Owen likes to know exactly where he’s going to eat every night.” Sandra Block, Owen’s mom shared in an interview.
Owen has a habit of having to be comfortable with the food he would eat. Studying a restaurant menu before ordering a meal of his choice makes him confident with his choice. Hence, Pat took Owen to a nearby restaurant to help him practice how to ask for a takeout menu.
According to Sandra, the father and son were practicing how to order inside their car. “Owen just go and get the takeout menu and come right back,” Pat patiently instructed Owen.
“You’re going to ask? What are you going to ask? Takeout menu? Okay good.” Pat reminded Owen before allowing him to order on his own.
When Owen felt confident that he can do it, he entered the restaurant. A few minutes later, the doting father cannot help but feel nervous when Owen did not return as soon as he was expecting him to. When he couldn’t ignore his worrisome thoughts, Pat finally decided to go inside the restaurant and see what’s really going on.
The encounter he saw upon entering the restaurant touched his heart. As it turned out, Owen had spoken to Aye Thein, one of the owners of the restaurant.
After Owen placed his order for takeout, he said to Aye that he is hungry. When asked what he wants to eat, Owen pointed at the beef curry. And so, the compassionate restaurant owner instructed one of the waiters to give the Owen some tasty beef curry.
“That is just so uncommonly kind, like how often can you imagine— I’m going to cry thinking about it,” Sandra expressed, touched by the sweet gestures of the restaurant owner.
Knowing that what transpired in the restaurant is a rare sight of kindness, generosity, and compassion, Sandra shared what happened on her Facebook account.
“I [love] Sun Restaurant in Williamsville. If you end up there, thank them again, from me. For their kindness, and for treating my son like family.” Hours upon posting, the story quickly garnered thousands of shares and likes, becoming viral in an instant!
“It went viral, I’m sitting there refreshing it and telling Pat, my husband, ‘Hey we got like a thousand likes on this.” And then I’m like, ‘No make that 1,200. Make that 1,240.’” Sandra recalled.
In another interview, the restaurant owner said she is simply practicing ‘Metta,’ one of the teachings of Buddhism, which means benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, goodwill, and proactive responsibility to others.
“Mettā simply means loving and kindness to everybody,” Aye explained.
What a beautiful word Mettā is. Owen and Aye’s story is a beautiful reminder that each and every one of us should practice loving kindness, which according to Sharon Salzberg, is the profound recognition that our lives have something to do with one another, that everyone counts, everyone matters.
Watch the inspiring video below and witness Mettā in action!
Photos and Video | WIVBTV