It's okay, really. He's happy and I'm happy and that's all the matters. We generally go through the stores without conversation with anyone else and that's just fine with me. We do tend to live in just the space between us, where I understand him and he understands me.
Except there is one place in the community where Kreed's hopping, dimple grin and sounds are a welcome sight and they greet him with cheers and shout his name and immediately start his order- often times before I even open the door. Reminds me a little of Kreed's very own Cheers place.
Five Guys is Kreed's favorite burger place on Earth. Literally. Ask Kreed where and what he wants to eat and it will be Five Guys every time. While their fries are delicious and burgers large and yummy, I know it has just as much to do with the people as the food. Kreed is accepted there without question. They aren't staring at him but celebrating his uniqueness and love him for it. It's a place where they actually talk to him and wait for him to respond on his device. They will give him all the time in the world to let him order even if it takes a few tries. They are careful to speak directly to Kreed and not look to me to translate. If Kreed gives them money- they give HIM back the change.
They are some of the most wonderful group of people and they don't even know it. To have Kreed go somewhere and not be treated different- except maybe with more kindness and grace than he has ever experienced before.
For that, I will be forever grateful to:
People don't often realize the impact they can make on someone's life. For Kreed, they have made him into a Five Guys fan for life and we frequent the restaurant at least 4-5 times a week and helped him learn skills he had been unwilling to do before. And they have given him something he gets nowhere else- for this boy to feel such love from virtual strangers merely by being himself.
To those that love Kreed and live with him every day, that kind of impact is immeasurable. They have opened up his world in a social way that had not been possible before. He became interested in money so that he could go to five guys more, which in turn led to him learning to do chores around the house to earn such money. He learned to use a huge part of his AAC device by going to Five Guys- he learned to ask for the food he wanted, to ask for "more water or fries or peanuts" when he ran out, and to tell me his feelings while he was there (happy and excited). I can't begin to tell you the amount of language Kreed has learned because of Five Guys. But more than that, the people at Five Guys.
In a world where we hear about bully's and violence...there are still corners of this world where kindness rules. To the staff at the Dana Park Five Guys, you all have my love and respect and thanks for being such a bright light in Kreed's World.