When a Movie Theater Manager’s Kind Acts Helped My Son After He Was Bullied
Much has been written on the subject of autism and bullying. My son hadn’t been bullied before. I created a safety net around my son, making a point of knowing his surroundings and all the parents in his classroom, overlooking and monitoring his therapists, having daily contact with his teachers and surrounding his weekends with family and friends I felt confident would accept him as he is — a person, a human being, a child with feelings and emotions. But it happened one day. My son was bullied. It’s a date I will never forget.
Our Friday nights consist of going to the movies, regardless if we are on vacation. It was a routine night out. French fries with cheese curd, no gravy, a slice of cheese pizza and water. The movie: “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” It was a great night, the movie was funny, my son was engaged and I was enjoying my mother/son bonding time. But after the movie, my son experienced an act of bullying that left him traumatized and visibly upset.
What mother doesn’t hurt when her child is upset? What mother doesn’t feel the pain when someone else deliberately hurts your child? Why? That is the definition of bullying: there is never a real answer, and if there is, it never makes sense. The person who bullied him didn’t care about his feelings.
Calmly, I approached the manager of the movie theater, a soft-spoken, pleasant gentleman. I explained what happened. Immediately he took us to sit down in the room where birthday parties are held, a special room with posters and colored chairs — a room that gave my son space to himself to calm down and be distracted by all the sensory stimuli the room had to offer. I welcomed the gesture. He patiently listened to the course of events, offered me some recourse and apologized for an incident that was not his fault except for the fact that it happened at his place of work. After writing down the incident, I decided without adequate description from my son, not much could be done. It does not always take much to help someone; offering compassion, lending an ear and being thoughtful is many times more than enough.
The gentleman watched as he tried to calm and district himself, and he offered words of comfort to us. He read my complaint and saw we attended the movies every week. Although I was satisfied with his actions up to now, he went above and beyond. He gave my son a poster and movie tickets to attend next week’s show. Even without the movie tickets, we would have returned to the movie theater because it is our weekly routine. But the gesture of kindness means more to the heart than one can explain in words.
We left the theater happy — my son holding his poster and me contemplating the events, grateful to the manager for his support and thinking of all the good people in the world. But there can be people who are not so patient, understanding and can even be downright mean. When I reached the driveway to my house, I will not lie, I broke down in tears.
I have to remember for every person who is not so nice, there are more people who are nice, compassionate and loving. Thank you to the movie theater manager for being the kind of person who makes me believe in this world.
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