So this past weekend I had a Combat Lifesavers Course through the Army. It is a course that teaches you battlefield first aid and what not to potentially save lives in combat. Many soldiers have been saved because of the Combat Lifesavers that come out of this course.
Anyway, a buddy of mine (we'll call him Jeffery) and I went out to a gas station and he was trying to fix his glove box and I was standing idly by when this kid comes out of nowhere and says, “Hi.” Of course I respond and his mother is telling him to give me some personal space. She then explains to me that he is autistic and saw our uniforms and wanted to say hello to some real soldiers. Then this kid throws his arm out and steps toward me, I really didn't know what he was doing until the last minute and his mom told him he needed to ask first... He wanted a hug. So I gave him one, cute kid. He gave my buddy a hug too, who took time away from his indignant glove box. His mom then told him that it was time to go and on his way out he turned around and saluted me and said, “Thank you.” That was it, short, sweet, and very simple. I returned his salute and thank the kid and his mom before turning around and getting back in my friends car.
Although the interaction was very short it really made my day. Here is this kid, I don't know how high functioning he was, but he can barely understand much of what is going in the world and he is taking time to thank my buddy and me for keeping him safe. And that is why I do this; not for recognition and to be thanked, not for shiny medals on my chest, but for those who would otherwise not have a say in what goes on – those who can not understand that there are real dangers in this world and need to be kept safe... Precious life.
I have two cousins and a cousin-in-law who are autistic and I know that their parents go through a lot raising them. So I would like to thank the lady and her kid at the gas station, all autistic people and their parents; you do not know how much God will bless you for your service to these little angels.