Moms of special needs children always have their antenna up when they go out as a family. All sorts of embarrassing mayhem might happen. People may stare at their kids, or ask rude questions. Or the kids themselves may act up (like all kids do).
Cynthia Tipton, a Missouri mom of three, did have her guard up when she took two of her kids and dad to Bandana's BBQ in St. Louis for dinner. Her 10-year-old son, Noland, has autism, and he'd had such bad tantrums before in restaurants that managers had asked them to leave. So when the boy started to melt down after his sister Sophie teased him, Tipton was ready. She went over to her son and started rubbing his back. Speaking softly, she said, "You’re being kind of loud. It’s OK, buddy. Sophie was just teasing. Let’s calm down. Let’s be a little quieter. You’re safe.”
Noland kept screaming for a few minutes, then calmed down. But the Tipton family was worried that they'd be thrown out yet again. And when the waitress came over with a note, they really expected the worst. Instead, they received a wonderful gift. Not only had some fellow diners paid for their meal, but they'd penned a note telling Tipton what a great mom she was.
Tipton was so touched she posted the note on Facebook as a way of paying back the family for their act of kindness. As the owner of the local Rock the Spectrum gym, a safe place for kids with autism, she sees how important a kind word or gesture can be. “Being a parent is tough,” she told the St. Louis Dispatch. “Being an autism parent is really tough.”