[Kelly’s Newspaper Column]
Perhaps not all stories we read on the internet are true, but we can take the inspiration and uplift they provide. And we can share the positive impact in whatever way we can.
I recently read a dad expressing his frustration while on a family trip at Disney World. One day at the park his son who has autism had a meltdown. A screaming meltdown and he would not stop screaming. This man and his wife decided that she stay there with their other three kids and he take their son back to the hotel.
The boy did not stop screaming as they waited for the bus, when they got on the bus, while the bus made its many stops to the various hotels. The father felt the weight of the stares and glares of the other passengers. The dad said his son “looks normal” and he assumed the folks on the packed bus were all thinking the kid was just a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way or didn’t get a new toy.
The man in the seat ahead of them turned around. The father stiffened, thinking he was going to get a berating on how to parent. Instead the gentleman kindly asked, “Is he okay?”
The father sighed and answered, “He has autism.”
The other man replied, “It’s alright” and smiled and turned around.
That simple gesture made the father stop worrying about what everyone on the bus was thinking and brought his attention back to the gift of his precious son. He said that he believes this man was their guardian angel that day.
We all can be that kind of angel. Give someone a smile and a simple, “It’s alright.” That small act makes a tremendous impact.
Life goes on.
Another story making the rounds is from author Neil Gaiman who tells the tale of his friend who as a child in the 80s met David Bowie and it changed his life. This guy had won tickets to see the movie “Labyrinth” plus a meet and greet with Bowie afterwards.
The boy was extremely shy and withdrawn and “not good around people.” He said, “Because I was so shy, they put me in a separate room, to one side, and so I got to meet him alone. He’d heard I was shy and it was his idea. He spent thirty minutes with me.”
That alone makes me love David Bowie even more, but the story gets better. David Bowie gives the boy an invisible mask. He takes it off his own face and explains that he always feels afraid and that the mask makes him feel a little bit better and he hands it to the boy to put on.
Bowie told him, “I feel brave enough then to face the whole world and all the people. And now you will, too. It’s magic.”
David then made another mask for himself, spun out of thin air, so they both could have an invisible mask. The grown man now remembering this event says it was the first time in his whole life he felt safe.
He still wears his invisible mask so he can face people and not feel so afraid.
That is impact.
We all have that power. Maybe it’s comforting a child, and they remember it thirty years later. Maybe it’s reassuring an adult that everything is alright. Maybe it’s a simple smile of acknowledgment.
If you think back in your life, you’ve had those moments. Strangers and those you know have been an angel for you or provided a bit of magic. It’s not hard to do. Pass it on. Pass it on.