A parent of a boy with autism shared with us this story of a positive experience he had while out shopping with his son:

I was at B&M Hulme today with my non-verbal autistic son doing our usual shopping (which he asks for after arriving from school, nearly every day), and my little man being his “usual happy self” (as school and I tend to say) cheering himself on while playing with this twiddle.

When we got to the till, my son couldn’t seem to decide whether to have his crisps right then or not, and the cashier remarked – smiling – “Is he being fussy today?” to which I laughingly said, “Yes.” Her reply caught me off-guard: “You know, you are such a fantastic dad.”

I didn’t know how to reply. We see her regularly; she’s friendly and we exchange pleasantries every now and again, but I just wasn’t expecting that.

In the end, I just ended up saying, “Ah… thanks. We just like having fun.” Not the best response to such a lovely compliment, I know. “Thank you.” Then we left.

As we were leaving, the woman behind me at the till must have asked the cashier something about us because I overheard her saying, “Yes, I see them everyday and…”

I didn’t hear the rest of it. But I left with a big smile on my face.

What a heartwarming story.

A simple compliment can make anyone’s day. For a parent-carer – whose child may have been up all night, or who may have been feeling anxious all day due to his/her child’s health or behaviour, or who may be feeling a bit down for not having had some “me time” for however long a time – kind words like these, specially if genuine, could really mean a lot.