I was in the bank today making my car payment and in line in front of me was a man just short of being severely handicapped Down's Syndrome. Also, for those of you who don't know, my mom is a Special Education teacher for kids that just need a little extra attention or help, and even though she doesn't work with the severely handicapped, she has done a summer school or two with them. This guy in the bank was maybe in his early twenties, maybe late teens but very obviously had the mental age of about a 4 year old. When I walked in said "HI" in a big loud voice that boomed through the whole bank. The woman, who I assume was his mom, was shocked at this and quickly turned around to see what had caught her sons attention. When she saw Emily she whipped around to stop her son, who was already heading my way, from getting too close. As watched this cat and mouse game in front of me, I couldn't figure out why his mother was freaking out. Then it occurred to me that I might be dealing with an "Of Mice and Men" situation here. Here in front of me was Lenny and Emily was his pet mouse. Even though his heart was a gentle as a feather...his hand might not have been. I said a quick prayer and took a deep breath and figured that there were enough people in the bank to help me if I needed it. After doing everything just short of getting down on his hands and knees and crawling though his mothers legs, Steve (I found out his name after his mom said "no, steve, steve! listen to me, NO" over and over again) broke past his mom.
I have to admit I was just a little nervous, not many people so blatantly approach Emily and coo at her like that. Steve came up to me and ever so gently took my hand in his, stuck my hand out towards him and grabbed mine with his other hand as if he was making me shake his hand. He said in his sweet, now quiet, Down's voice "Hi, I a Steve" and then kissed the top of my hand. I laughed because here I was afraid of having to deal with someone who maybe didn't know his own strength, but instead was faced with a very suave and gentle guy. I laughed again when he looked at me with almost a sly look on his face. This time I looked at his mom, who sighed, smiled at me and mouthed "Thank You" as she watched her son pet Emily's hair and say "Pitty Baby" over and over again. He was quickly distracted when he was the next person called in line and nearly knocked his mom over running to the cashier.
I'm telling this story because it really touched my heart. How many women have batted his hand away and turned their back to him because they didn't want him to touch their baby, thinking he was some sort of "freak". His mom was so grateful for my understanding. It really did make my day today (well yesterday now). I just thought I would share.