Mum touched by stranger's kind gesture for autistic son who thought he was Santa

Mum touched by stranger's kindness towards autistic son after lift encounter

Kindness, Father Christmas

10/28/2021 1:34:00 AM

Mum touched by stranger's kindness towards autistic son after lift encounter

A mum has told of the act of kindness performed by a complete stranger she met in a lift, who her 10-year-old son with autism believed was the real-life Santa Claus

One mum met one of these kind strangers in a hotel lift recently, when they went out of their way to show compassion and friendliness to her 10-year-old son, who has autism.Kate Swenson posted in the Today community to explain she had bundled her family – including her husband, two sons, and a baby – into a lift to go up to their hotel room, and had initially been worried when her husband let another man get in with them.

She wrote: “My husband and I and two of our boys plus baby get on the lift. We are loud and busy. Get the news you want straight to your inbox. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here.“Our two-year-old is trying to push all the buttons. I am using my hip to block him.

“Our 10-year-old is autistic and adores lifts, so he is happy flapping and dancing and making lots of noises.“Just as the door is about to close to bring us to the second floor of the hotel my husband yells out … ‘I’ll hold the door for you!’, and a big, burly, man hops on.

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“He’s wearing leather from head to toe and even though his hands are full I can see the Harley Davidson logo on his chest. A long white beard completes the look. He’s gruff-looking, I suppose. Rough. Tough. Big. Stoic.“In my mind, I’m cursing my polite husband for inviting this person into our chaos. We are a travelling circus.”

Kate then said Cooper, her autistic son, reached out to comb his hands through the man’s beard without asking – and the mum expected the man to be furious. She added: “Once the man enters, I see my son Cooper’s face light up like a Christmas tree. And the biggest smile spreads across his face.

“I instantly know what’s coming and I hold my breath. I see my husband do the same. We know.“Cooper takes two steps towards the man and reaches his hand up and runs it through his white beard.“A belly laugh erupts from Cooper, and he claps and demands a high five from the man.

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“I wait. My husband waits. Cooper waits … handheld outright waiting. Hanging as they say.”But instead of being angry, the man gave the young boy a smile and returned his high five in a sweet gesture that made the boy’s day. Once out of the lift, Cooper showed his mum his iPad displaying a picture of Santa Claus and seemed to suggest he thought the man in the lift was the real Father Christmas.

Kate wrote: “The big, tall, man dressed in black leather smiles the biggest smile and gives a high five to the yellow-haired boy without words.“Once off the lift Cooper taps my shoulder to get my attention and shows me his iPad. Santa Claus dances across the screen.

“Cooper points to the lift and waves goodbye. And giggles. His face saying it all. He met the big guy. In a lift. And off he dances toward our room.” The mum went on to praise the man for his kind deed, and insisted she and her husband are working on teacher Cooper about “personal space”.

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She said: “We are very much working on personal space and boundaries but it’s a work in progress as they say.“What I do know is if Cooper pays attention to you, it’s a gift. And you are lucky.“Maybe it was Santa. Who knows? He sure was a nice man either way. I adore kindness and grace. Two amazing traits in this world.”

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