Sunday, April 29, 2012

Autism in the Real World

Friday, as my husband was traveling home, he came across a situation. This is the story as he told me...

There's a girl on our plane, in her twenties, obviously on the spectrum but not as high-functioning as Ethan (our son has Asperger's, a high-functioning form of autism) and she's traveling alone. Her cell phone is dead, with no way to get in touch with the people that are supposed to pick her up. I let her borrow my battery charger and had her write down the contact numbers in case her phone is dead, then I can call them for her...kind of sad that she was so poorly prepared by someone. She was asking everyone in the gate area for a charger and people were mean to her...sad. I actually had a woman ask me why I helped her? I said REALLY??? ....with a long pause. Because she needed help! That lady was so ignorant I didn't feel like explaining that  I have a son with special needs, and people should take care of each other. I looked at her and said...if it was a stray dog or cat, people would probably help, but because she looked dirty (unbrushed hair, yellowish teeth) and talked funny (in a monotone voice) she wasn't worth anybody's time...that is sad. 


She thought it was odd that all these people had cell phones with adapters just like hers, and that like her, they had no way of charging them...when the truth is they all did, but wouldn't help her. She was in the back of the plane, so I waited for her to get off. She said her phone was fully charged and that she called the person that was picking her up. I showed her where baggage claim was...she kept walking with me, and I told her it was alright, we would go to baggage claim. I think I made her feel safe and she didn't want to go by herself. It was really sad watching her try to talk to people and get help. Nobody, not one person, would help. She was very worried that her phone wouldn't be working. She said she had spent 3 hours looking for a charger. She thought it was so funny that everyone forgot their phone chargers, just like her. Half the people looked at me like I was crazy for helping her.
So what would YOU have done it that situation? Unless you have a child with special needs, you have no idea how terrified that girl must've been...in a strange place, asking people for help. I try to imagine my child trying to get help in a strange place with strange people...knowing that there are so many people unwilling to help others. I can only hope he would run into someone like my husband...someone willing to help another person in need, willing to look past the outside, not judging by looks, but seeing a need and stepping in to help.

5 comments:

  1. This breaks my heart. It's true - people would help an animal, but will let another human being continue to struggle. What's wrong with a world that values animals over people? Please thank your husband for us - gives us hope that there will be someone, someday, if our son needs help (Asperger's).

    Additionally - have you read the autismpositivity.wordpress.com blog for linking up tomorrow? Check it out - all the info comes up when you click the link.

    People think there's so much awareness about autism & the spectrum disorders. CLEARLY not, if this is indicative of how people STILL respond. This makes me angry - and sad. Thank you for sharing this story.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know...I appreciate it! And I agree, this made me angry AND sad..most of all sad, that there are some people so unwilling just to help another person. It's just unbelievable!

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  2. Kuddos to your husband for being the decent human being the others wouldn't be! So sad...But glad he was able to help.

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    1. Thanks. My husband is in and out of airports and airplanes twice a week, sometimes more, and this was the first time he ever ran into a situation like this. He never thinks twice about helping a traveler in need, so I'm not surprised he helped this. He's a really great man! :-)

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  3. Negative experiences happen more than I can mention (usually not so overt)...we live in such a passive aggressive society. I must apologize about the grammar in the above post. They are a compilation of text messages that I sent to my beautiful bride about the travesty I was witnessing. I just HAD to help this person, regardless of the situation (P.S. I also give panhandlers $, or buy homeless people a meal). I believe helping others exerts a wider influence and is more necessary to the happiness of society; it overcomes more evils than anything else. It is the greatest principle which binds the universe in harmony....

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