A week ago my husband was stuck in traffic for over an hour just to get home from work. Stuck at a place on his commute that is usually only five or so minutes from our driveway. We’re living right on a very busy street that is undergoing a huge overhaul at this very moment.
Being the social media queen that I am, I updated him on all the complaints I was seeing on Facebook and how long other people were stuck and being the comedian he is, he sent me texts asking how long I thought he could live on a half bottle of water and one protein bar.
But he came home smiling (because he has this very positive outlook about how beautiful the roads are going to be when it’s done) and joined us on the front stoop where Brian was in his glory, watching construction vehicles do their thing basically right in our front yard. We laughed over how happy Brian was with the whole ordeal when the rest of the world (or our little corner of the world) was not very happy. I filmed Brian flapping and laughing and jumping with joy.
And then I shared it along with the caption: “I’m sorry to everyone who is completely annoyed by the cluster this construction is making….but it sure is making one autistic boy very happy that he can sit right on his doorstep and watch bulldozers and dump trucks.”
I sent it along to the “Thomaston Rte 1 Project“, thanking them for making our little boy very happy. I figured in a sea of complaints, they deserved to see someone happy. I figured it was a very thankless job that the construction workers were undertaking.
It was only a day later that Audrey Lovering wrote me back that she had shared it with the construction crew and they were so touched that they wanted to meet Brian and make him an honorary Lane Construction team member.
Last night among family and friends, we brought Brian to the construction site to meet several Lane Construction employees. One of the employees had called me a few days prior really wanting to know about Brian and his autism and what to expect. They really went out of their way to understand him and I warned them that the whole meeting may be overwhelming and though he loves to watch the trucks, he may be a little scared to actually go in one.
They had a bag full of goodies for Brian, complete with all the construction gear he would need to be a team member. They even gave him his own hard hat with his name on it.
They asked him if he wanted to ride in the water truck. All week we’d been reading a social story I had made him about seeing and riding in the water truck. At home, he had told me he wanted to ride in the truck. But at the site, after seeing it, he clearly said, “No, thanks!”.
We all laughed and the team asked if he wanted to see it go and spray water. He was okay with that option. A team member drove it up and down the road, spraying water, making most of us wish we had rolled up the windows in our car. But really not caring, after watching Brian flap and jump and laugh.
The Lane Construction men were so patient with Brain, clearly heeding what I had said in our conversations over Facebook and on the phone. Eventually Brian got in the water truck while it was parked and operated the lever that made the water spray and figured out the horn. After that, there was no stopping him from climbing in to spray the water. He ran around in euphoria watching the water flow from the water truck. Brian’s three biggest loves (perseverations) are vehicles, water, and zoo animals. All we needed was a zebra and it would’ve been the perfect trifecta.
They had several other parked construction vehicles that Brian loudly said, “No, thanks!” about climbing in. But again, the team was so great and so patient and they waited him out. And then, when he was ready and comfortable, he climbed into each (parked and not running) with the best grin on his face.
At some point, I figured we’d get some bored and tired team members. It’s hard if you’re not around autism every day to really grasp it and understand it. I wasn’t sure if this was more about positive publicity (which is good too, I think the construction workers deserve a break) than providing Brian with an amazing evening. But we never hit that roadblock. It was clear, minutes in to the evening, that this was truly about Brian. Every person there was so genuininely happy to just be there and to watch Brian. No one was on a time schedule and they bent over backwards to make sure it was all about Brian and did whatever it took to make him happy.
I blog and share a lot about the tribulations of autism. Brian doesn’t get to enjoy those moments that most families take for granted- joining a sports team, getting invited to birthday parties, sleepovers, riding a bike without his Mom, and so forth. So a moment like this means the world to our family. Seeing Brian noticed and honored for who he is, means everything.
Who would’ve thought, us sending a simple thank you to the construction workers, would lead to them giving Brian the best “thank you” we could’ve ever dreamed for. Brian’s smile clearly says it all.