Sandra De Jong Borchers was visiting her local Home Depot with her four-year-old son, mother and dog in a family scene many can relate to - 'trying to pick a new paint scheme for my home'. But unlike many other families, Sandra's son's illness can make day-to-day life challenging.
He suffers with 'autism, sensory processing disorder, adhd, and constant pain in his legs', meaning that trips out can often be 'quite stressful for him and for myself', Sandra explains in the post.
This particular trip was no exception. 'He was overstimulated today and began hitting himself in the head, screaming, punching me, and pulling on my shirt while crying.' But the reason for Sandra's post, which has now been shared over 300 times, is to highlight the random act of kindness she experienced at the hands of a total stranger in the store.
Sandra explains that what the woman saw was 'my son have a full meltdown'. However, rather than being met with comments of 'control your child', 'this isn't a place for kids like him', 'you know duct tape works', and 'a good whooping would help' amongst many other judgments, Sandra was met with quite a different reaction after the stranger smiled at the mum.
'My son then went with my mom to calm down by looking at the toilets. It is really the only thing that calms his body and mind in that store as he loves toilets. When he returned you gave him a dollar to spend on ice cream at McDonalds.
'After Sandra apologised for her son's behavior, the woman said no apology was not necessary.
The mum, clearly moved by the act of kindness, detailed her reaction in the post. 'What you didn't know at the time was my child has autism, sensory processing disorder, adhd, and constant pain in his legs. There was no way for you to know this by just looking at him. He looks like any other kid you might see at a store.'
'He struggles with outings and it can be quite stressful for him and for myself. What you didn't see was as you walked away was I began to cry. My thick skin had been broken through by the sheer kindness and compassion of a complete stranger.'
The mum goes on to explain how much the woman's actions meant to her: 'You may not remember us but I for sure will remember you! Thank you for being a kind human being. You really never do know how the little things you do or say can change a persons day around.
'Oh and yes we did take him for that ice cream and he enjoyed every single lick of it. Thank you for being you and allowing my son to be himself.'