While progress has been made in regards to parenting methods for children with autism, there is still a lot to learn. A little patience and understanding from family members and strangers alike, however, can make a huge difference. Such was the case when one Chili's patron, Anna Kaye MacLean, was recently at the restaurant's Midvale, UT, location with her husband and 7-year-old sister, Arianna, who has autism.
After ordering a burger and fries, Anna noticed that Arianna had not touched her burger. In a Facebook post shared by the page Love What Matters, Anna explained, "Cheeseburgers, or 'Krabby Patties' as we sometimes call them, are her FAVORITE! So this behavior was VERY strange." At which point, Arianna explained her reasoning: the burger was "broken," or cut in half.
Anna wrote, "Being a child with autism, she has to have certain things in a particular order at all times. One slight change in her routine can change the course of the day instantly." Being used to this, Anna proceeded to tell their waitress, Lauren, that they wished to order and pay for a new burger that wasn't cut in half. Lauren proceeded to go above and beyond to make Arianna comfortable. She said, "I brought you a broken cheeseburger? You know what, I'll have them cook you a new one!"
Anna explained that while it may seem insignificant, Lauren's response and acknowledgment avoided a meltdown. The manager, Bradley Cottermole, even stopped by the table to chat with Arianna and console her over the "broken" burger. Arianna was so relieved when the new burger came out that she gave it a kiss and exclaimed, "I missed you!"
Read the full touching account above.