It All Comes Out In The Wash

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 18, 2020

Back when I was at school in the early 2000s, there was a mentally disabled boy in my year. I never asked or figured out exactly what his disability was but it was sufficient that he had a dedicated special needs teacher in class with him for the full duration of our time at school.  

The permanent presence of said support teacher warded him from any direct bullying, although there were a lot of comments when people were out of hearing range. Being something of an outcast myself due to my autism, I felt a certain degree of affinity with him and often paired with him in classes that required partnering to offer him support. Whilst doing this, I learned that the thing that made him happier than anything else on the planet… was a washing machine.

I never figured out why, but watching washing go round and round filled him with utter joy, and I have to say, I was kind of jealous that he was able to gain such satisfaction from something so simple whilst I wallowed in undiagnosed depression through the bulk of my school days.

After school, I moved away for university and then work. Recently, I moved back into the local area, and whilst doing some errands around town, I walked past the local laundry and saw my old schoolmate inside. I popped in to say hello and, sure enough, he remembered me.

He was still with a carer; however, I learned that he worked twelve hours a week at this laundry as part of a community scheme to support disabled people and help them find employment in the local area.

The look on his face as he watched an entire wall of washing machines spinning away makes me smile even as I write this now. I’m so happy that he managed to truly find his ideal place in life, as so very few of us do.


This story is part of our feel-good roundup for August 2020!

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