We went to one of our local Panera eateries in Nashua (one of the very few places I am fortunate enough to be able to go and enjoy a stress free meal with GP because they take "have it your way" very seriously, and they are FAST as lightning!) Needless to say, they made his sandwich just the way he wanted it and in no time flat we were seated.
It was only after we were seated that GP tried his drink and handed me the cup saying "I need Sprite!" and Tasted the drink and yep, it was soda, but the syrup was missing. No problem, I think they'll just switch the tank and it's all good. WRONG! They were out of Sprite and I was up the creek without a paddle.
I swear when that woman offered me a substitution I looked at her with terror in my eyes and said, "My son is AUTISTIC", but could not say anything else. I stood there, out of words, and felt my eyes swell with tears. I had to face the fact that my son who was enjoying a wonderful lunch would NOT understand that they are out of syrup, and all hell would break loose. Just like that...as fast as you can snap your fingers...yes, that's how fast that is...it's all over! And as I stood back catching my breath and fighting my tears before I had to return to try to explain and "control my son" (ahem, discipline) to effectively exit "quickly and quietly", a young lady, no older than 20 came running out of the "sandwich prep" area and handed me a bottle of Sprite, just like the one pictured here. She handed me the bottle and said, "I had this in my lunch bag and I think you need it more than I do". I grabbed her and hugged her so tight I think she needed CPR when I let go. All I could say was, "You don't know what this means to me" but she was quick to reply,"I babysit a little boy with Autism, I understand" and she walked away. I caught my breath and returned to my table where GP greeted me with a big smile and a "THANK YOU!" that was loud and clear. I couldn't eat my own lunch having just "dodged the bullet" (you know how your knees wobble and you can feel your hands shaking after you have had a really bad scare? That's how it feels when you recover from a "what could have been" episode!) and knowing how blessed I had been because of that one young woman's simple act of charity. B=)