When Jamie Heustess and her family stopped at a local Cracker Barrel for a meal, her son Ian was exhausted. He has autism and, although he usually does well at restaurants, had a meltdown due to the surrounding stimuli in the restaurant. Her husband quickly left with Ian, and Jamie opted to order a to-go meal before joining them at home.
"After Chris and Ian left, our waitress came to ask if we were ordering. This was probably her fifth or sixth time stopping by the table," Jamie wrote on the Love What Matters Facebook page. "I said yes, a to-go order, just for me."
When the waitress, Kailyn, asked if her husband or son wanted anything, Jamie explained that Ian has autism and he’d reached his breaking point after a long day of errands and karate.
"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,” Jamie explained in the Facebook post.
Kailyn assured Jamie that she’d have her order ready in a jiffy and brought out her food within 15 minutes. She told Jamie that her meal “had been taken care of” and no payment was necessary.
When Jamie looked at the bag, she noticed that a piece of paper was stapled to it. Although she initially thought it was just the receipt, it turned out to be something far sweeter: a note from Kailyn.
“In the midst of my own meltdown she reached out with words of encouragement and a kind heart: She wrote, 'Your child is amazing mommy. Be strong, keep your head up. You are doing a great job. Have a great night. Your server, Kailyn.’”
Jamie hung the note on her refrigerator as a reminder of the kindness of strangers. Sometimes, seemingly small gestures like Kailyn’s make a world of difference.