Dad of Autistic Teen Touched by Rome Shop’s Heartwarming Gesture
A simple gesture by a Rome consignment store moved a Dad so much, he is going public with his story.
Eric Brown is a data scientist who works in Rome. He and his wife, Sam, have a blended family of 8 children. One of those children is Xan, who has autism. Xan is 19, and is non-verbal, so it's hard for him to express his feelings. "He can get pretty frustrated when things don’t go his way or if he can’t communicate his needs and usually responds by breaking his favorite things. And he can break anything," explains Eric.
Frequent trips to Walmart add up when trying to find Xan a new toy. That's when Eric decided to take Xan to Ella's Room in Rome.
Eric explains how the visit unfolded: "Xan, skeptical at first, complained a bit, but then found a used toy he loved. We headed up to the register to pay. The owner was really nice but I still felt like I needed to explain why I was shopping in a baby store with my grown autistic kid - that he loved the older electronic toddler toys and how awesome it was to find them for less than $10 instead of paying over $20 at Walmart. She asked a few questions about Xan and about what kind of things he liked. It was a great experience, we felt very welcome, and Xan was happy."
A few weeks later, when Xan was having a particularly tough day, Eric and Xan visited Ella's Room again.
"Xan was yelling and very obviously upset. I convinced him to follow me to the back of the store and check out the toys. He did, but hadn’t quieted down much when the other owner approached us. They’d been great with us before, but I didn’t know if they would remember us and Xan can be scary when he’s aggravated. I never know how people are going to react. I was ready to apologize and maybe even get him out of the store. She didn’t give me a chance though. Instead, she held out a box."
“We’ve been putting aside some of the toys we thought he’d like. She let him pick out what he wanted. He did. And he calmed right down. I did my best to thank her but was just a little chocked up. But thank you, Ella’s Room. You guys are amazing. It might have seemed like just a simple little act of kindness to you, but it meant more than I can possibly express to me and to Xan. Thank you."