Taking young kids out to a restaurant can be a gamble at times, especially if everyone’s had a long day. While you may hope for a relaxing family meal – that doesn’t always happen.
In fact, it can be very stressful if your child is cranky while out to eat, making you wish you’d just stayed home.
One mom from Georgia knows what it’s like to experience chaos at a restaurant. It all started when she and her husband took their son out to eat at a Cracker Barrel.
They’d had a full day.
Jamie Mathews Heustess’s young son Ian has autism, and after a full day of activities, the boy was in no mood to be in a bright and busy restaurant. The result? Quite the meltdown.
Huestess first posted the following photo to her Facebook page with a caption describing how the family can normally get through most of a meal before it gets to be too much for Ian, but they had already had “awards day,” a karate lesson, and taken a trip to Walmart.
This is the reality of trying to have a family dinner out when you have a child with autism. He often makes it mid to…
“We had gotten drinks at Cracker Barrel, but not ordered yet. The reason for his meltdown? A Finding Dory toy that has mystery figurines…..Dad bought him 2. Neither had Nemo. Cue meltdown… he does not understand it is the luck of the draw.”
“His cries escalate….making it impossible to think straight. So…..i am sitting waiting on a to go order while Daddy takes him home…….Autism is not easy…..some days it totally sucks…. 😭😭”
It all came flooding out.
After her husband Chris took Ian home, Huestess said their waitress came back to see if they were ordering, adding that it was “probably her 5th of 6th time stopping by the table.”
The server, Kailyn, listened as Huestess said she would just be getting a to-go order for herself and described what happened through tears.
“By this time I was crying and having a moment, not because I was embarrassed that my son is autistic, but because he is a good kid and I didn’t want anyone to think he was just a spoiled kid being a brat.”
It was then that the server cooked up a plan to brighten the overwhelmed mom’s day.
“About 15 minutes later, out comes my server with my bag of dinner. She smiled and told me that my dinner had been taken care of, no need for payment.
I started crying all over again.
I asked if she was sure and she reassured me it was taken care of, not to worry.”
“I cried walking out, sure the other customers and employees thought I was crazy.”
But that wasn’t all Kailyn did.
She also included a note of encouragement on the bag that Huestess saw when she got to her car.
The note read:
“Your child is amazing. Mommy, be strong. Keep your head up. You are doing a great job. Have a great night. Your server, Kailyn.”
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That sweet gesture didn’t go unrecognized by Kailyn’s manager either.
Once he found out she planned to pay for Huestess’ dinner out of her tips from that night, he took care of the bill himself.
The grateful mom said that their actions meant a lot to her:
“She left me the words I needed to hear, that I think EVERY MOM needs to hear. Their caring and thoughtfulness did not go unnoticed…
My note from Kailyn is now hanging on my fridge, for those moments I need to be reminded of the kindness of strangers.”
Sometimes it only takes a small act of kindness to completely turn a person’s day around – whether it be a thoughtful gesture or words of encouragement. This waitress ended up making a huge difference to a mom who really needed it.
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