There is a little girl in his class (he’s in 7th, so they have lunch together) that was born without arms or legs. She spends her days in an electric wheelchair, so it’s really difficult for her to get a tray, her food, etc and get back to her table in time to be able to eat. She refuses to let her aide help now because she feels like it only singles her out more and only serves to call attention to her disability. She wanted to do it herself, and while it killed everyone, she was allowed her to do her thing without interference.
She and my son share a lunch together and sit at tables near each other. He’s known her since 1st grade and talks to her pretty often. He noticed that she’d been struggling pretty bad and not really finding the time to finish her meals, so he asked her a couple of weeks ago if maybe he could help her through line and she politely declined.
It was really bothering him that she wasn’t getting through fast enough (she’s quite social and school is one of her few chances to get that side of her out), so he came up with another solution and proposed it to one of the lunch ladies at his school. (I work at another school)
He actually took the time to figure out what time she usually arrived in the cafe. Then, because there are two lines with different meals, he spoke with one of the lunch ladies to see if they knew what she usually gets on certain days. Unfortunately, she’s a finicky eater and wasn’t very predictable on that front.
But, since they knew he was doing something nice, worked with him (and called me to make sure somebody was paying for the extras if need be-of course) and we worked it out that they would prepare her food in a way that she would have everything they offered without having to go through line with another adult (or by herself). Right before she was due to come in, he would get her tray and meet her outside the cafeteria with it, keeping her on time and sparing her any distress she felt by taking so long. Even better, they sit very near the door, so we were hoping it would be less noticeable she’d come IN with a tray.
Since I know those women, and they were so touched, they called me to come watch it unfold for the first time. We were all nervous that she’d be offended that we’d done this and end up feeling worse. So, myself, a bunch of lunch ladies, the principal, the vice principal, her aide and a teacher who just so happened to be there were hiding out, fingers crossed, hoping like hell it wouldn’t go wrong.
Fortunately, she rolled into that cafeteria, went straight to her table without even a notice from anyone else and her smile was just beautiful. We all just sat watching, crying like babies. An entire grade’s lunch halted because the lunch ladies had gone spastic! My son walked back in and spotted me, rolled his eyes a little because he thinks I’m a nerd….but gave me a discreet thumbs up and went back to his own business.
I have never been prouder. My son was a hero that day, not just to his mom, but to another kid and a whole bunch of adults. It’s the little things, ya know? And to go out of your way for anyone is just an awesome thing in and of itself…and that day, it was my boy.
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