A single act of kindness may seem isolated in the moment, but kindness often paves the way for beautiful things to happen for years to come. Sometimes this beauty may not be revealed until over a decade later. At least this was the case with my daughter, Lizzie, a boy named Sam, and kindness shown to me by his mom, Angie.
I was introduced to Angie in a state of desperation.
I had just been told some unsettling news by a speech pathologist family friend. “Your daughter is showing all the signs of autism,” she told me. “Run! Don’t walk to a developmental pediatrician’s office!”
Autism?! I knew nothing about autism, and we needed help fast. I made call after call and every developmental pediatrician had a six-month or longer wait for new patients. The anguish of knowing something was wrong with my 2-year-old daughter and having to wait was too much to bear.
Angie’s son had been recently diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s, and a friend suggested I give her a call. Angie acted like she had all the time in the world to talk with me. She answered all my questions about autism and then showed me kindness beyond what I could have ever imagined.
“We have a follow-up appointment with Sam’s developmental pediatrician next week,” Angie confided. “Why don’t you take our appointment? I will call the doctor and set it up.”
Tears of relief and gratitude streamed down my face. I couldn’t believe someone who barely knew me would show me such kindness. I could now begin the process of getting my daughter the help she needed to become the best version of herself.
Using their appointment, we received an autism diagnosis on the spot and started a 30-hour-a-week therapy program right away. Lizzie responded well to the therapies and made almost daily progress.
The kindness Angie showed me when I was feeling such deep desperation has always stayed with me. We kept in touch, shared how our kids were doing, and planned a few preschool playdates. Our paths crossed many times over the years.
A year ago, we were talking and decided it would be fun to re-introduce Lizzie and Sam. They hadn’t seen each other in over a decade. They were both thriving in their daily lives and shared a positive outlook on life that is contagious. They hit it off and began a beautiful friendship. This friendship led Sam to ask Lizzie to his senior prom.
The enormous smiles on their faces during Sam’s perfectly planned promposal are the direct result of Angie’s single act of kindness from 15 years earlier. We never know when, where or how kindness will come back to us.
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Julie Hornok is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker, and advocate for autism. She started the non-profit, United in Autism, to bring hope to autism moms through emotional support events. Her first book, United in Autism: Finding Strength Inside the Spectrum (foreword by Temple Grandin) is available at UnitedinAutism.com or Amazon. Join her United in Autism Facebook Community for daily support. UnitedinAutism.com