I have done a lot of cooking lately, so tonight was a night to go out for dinner. Got a gift card for my birthday that had not yet been touched, so off to Red Robin we went. All was a pretty typical night there. We had a large group of ladies (about 10) that were seated across from us. It seemed like a mother/daughter thing, with the girls being HS age. I was getting the feeling a couple of the daughters may have been special needs kids, but was not really paying attention. Of course it was someone’s birthday in that group. The girls were up and down walking around while the ladies chatted.
As is the tradition when we frequent Red Robin, my children go over to the claw game and attempt to get a stuffed animal. As I have mentioned before my children have CRAZY skills at this game! Of course, June got the animal pictured with the first dollar. While they were playing, one of the girls was watching, and asked her mom if she could play. Mom said no, and June noticed the girl was very disappointed. She also noticed that the girl did have some sort of special needs.
The kids returned to the table and asked for more money. June wanted to get a prize for that girl (she was NOT the birthday girl at the table). I looked over at the table. It appeared that the girl was a tad dejected. June was confident that with her brothers keen eye, they could get another one. Four dollars, and they came back with not one but 2 more animals. June walked up to the girl and presented the prizes. A loud shriek of joy billowed out from deep inside the girl. The look on her face was priceless. She gave June the biggest hug, and they exchanged names. Clearly, her night was made.
But it wasn’t just the girl, it was the whole table. I watched as each of the mothers, and each of the daughters faces lit up like a Christmas tree when they realized what had just taken place. Like the ripples in a pond, the joy had spread all around.
Task complete we prepared to head out. One of the mothers came up and thanked us. Then we got the story. This was not a mother daughter gathering. The ladies were the Special Ed teachers from a local HS, and these girls were their autistic students. Once a year these ladies give of their time, and take the students out for a girls night. The girl that received the gift? This was her first time. As a matter of fact, this was her first time ANYWHERE ever in life. Home, school and the Dr. is all she had ever seen in 16 years. WOW!
As we walked out, I looked back. The girl was still so excited, and the table was still all a buzz. Out of nowhere, one child all on her own decided that she wanted to bring a little joy to a total stranger. She shared her gift, and to me at least, spread a little hope in this world by doing.