The Hand That Shook The World

| Related | September 16, 2013

(I am shopping, and I pass by a mom and her eight-year-old son. The mom smiles at me.)

Mom: “Hi!”

Me: *smiling* “Hi!”

(I keep walking, and realize after a moment the boy is keeping pace with me. He holds out his hand.)

Son: “Can I shake your hand?”

Me: “Sure you can shake my hand! I love shaking hands!”

(We shake hands. He smiles at me and walks off. His mom comes up.)

Mom: “Thank you! My son is autistic, and wants to greet everyone with a hand shake. To improve his verbal skills, I’ve encouraged him to ask people if he can shake their hand.”

(The mom seems truly surprised that I was so pleasant about the whole exchange, and that I’d talked to him and smiled and was very friendly. The thing that gets me, is how many people must react to this little boy wanting to shake their hand in a negative manner, to have the mom thankful that I was okay with it? It saddens me to think that this was obviously a relief and a surprise, and not the norm. As I walk off, I hear the son.)

Son: “Mom… can we get this for Anthony?”

(The mom is beaming because he is communicating, and has asked for something for a sibling. Good luck to you and your son, ma’am. May more people greet your son with a smile and out-stretched hand so he can improve his verbal skills! The pleasure on his face from a handshake and a hello made me smile!)

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