If you are an autism parent, you might already know how difficult and utterly exhausting getting your child’s hair cut can be. My son, Michael’s, first cut was a horrible experience for both of us. After that first cut, we were both ruined for a while. I decided I would start cutting it myself. He still cried. It was still exhausting, and it still took the rest of the day for him to recuperate every single time.
Over time things got better with me cutting, but I am no barber. It always looked OK, but it definitely could have used professional help. One day driving through town, I noticed a barbershop I’d never seen before. I took my other son, David, first. I met Freddy. He did a really good job, and David was comfortable. I thought for a bit and decided I would take Michael. I expected to walk out in tears. When we got there, I explained that Michael has autism and really didn’t like cuts from anyone. Freddy talked to him. He joked with him and made him comfortable. I was in shock. We have always gone back. Michael actually asks to go back.
So when we decided we were going to move, it hit me. I would have to find a new barber for Michael. The thought turned my stomach. The level of trust he built with Freddy doesn’t come easily. Now we would have to start all over. Last time I got Michael’s hair cut, I jokingly (but seriously too) wrote on Facebook that if I had unlimited funds I would fly Freddy back and forth just to cut Michael’s hair. Freddy and I are friends on Facebook, and he saw that post.
Well, this weekend I went to get Michael’s hair cut. As we were getting ready to leave, Freddy asked when we were moving. I told him in the the beginning of July.
He said to me, “My wife and I talked. We will go down to Virginia before the school year starts so I can cut Michael’s hair.”
I thought I was hearing things. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights and I obviously thought that he was joking. As a matter of fact, I must have asked six or seven times if he was. He was not. He was serious. He also was not already planning to go to Virginia. The purpose of his trip, from New Jersey to Virginia, would be to cut Michael’s hair.
How do you thank someone for a gift like that? How do you make them understand just how much the gesture means? I still am not sure. Dinner? A gift certificate? A kidney, maybe?
For now, this post is my thanks to you, Freddy. You have no idea what this means to me… what it will mean to Michael. You have shown a level of kindness that I don’t know I could ever repay you for.
Both of those pictures were taken after Michael’s very first visit to Freddy’s.
A version of this post originally appeared on This Ausome Family.
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