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When a Construction Crew Went Out of Its Way to Give My Autistic Son an Amazing Evening

A week ago, my husband was stuck in traffic for over an hour just trying to get home from work. He was stuck at a place on his commute that is usually only five minutes or so from our driveway. We’re living right on a busy street undergoing a huge overhaul at this very moment.

Being the social media queen I am, I updated him on all the complaints I saw on Facebook and how long other people were stuck. Being the comedian he is, he sent me texts asking how long I thought he could live on a half-bottle of water and one protein bar.

But he came home smiling (because he has this positive outlook about how beautiful the roads are going to be when it’s done) and joined us on the front stoop, where our son Brian was in his glory, watching construction vehicles do their thing basically right in our front yard. We laughed over how happy Brian was with the whole ordeal when it seemed like the rest of the world (or our little corner of the world) was not too happy. I filmed Brian flapping and laughing and jumping with joy.

And then I shared it along with the caption: “I’m sorry to everyone who is completely annoyed by the cluster this construction is making….but it sure is making one autistic boy very happy that he can sit right on his doorstep and watch bulldozers and dump trucks.”

I sent it along to the Thomaston Rte 1 Project, thanking them for making our little boy happy. I figured in a sea of complaints, they deserved to see someone happy. I figured it was a thankless job the construction workers were undertaking.

It was only a day later that a woman named Audrey wrote me back that she had shared it with the construction crew, and they were so touched, they wanted to meet Brian and make him an honorary Lane Construction team member.

Last night among family and friends, we brought Brian to the construction site to meet several Lane Construction employees. One of the employees called me a few days prior wanting to know about Brian and his autism and what to expect. They went out of their way to understand him, and I warned them that the whole meeting may be overwhelming, and though he loves to watch the trucks, he may be a little scared to go in one.

They had a bag full of goodies for Brian, complete with all the construction gear he would need to be a team member. They even gave him his own hard hat with his name on it.

A construction worker handing the author's son a bag

They asked him if he wanted to ride in the water truck. All week we’d been reading a social story I had made him about seeing and riding in the water truck. At home, he told me he wanted to ride in the truck. But at the site, after seeing it, he clearly said, “No, thanks!”

A man standing near the door of a red construction truck, holding his hand out to the author's son

We all laughed, and the team asked if he wanted to see it go and spray water. He was OK with that option. A team member drove it up and down the road, spraying water, making most of us wish we had rolled up the windows in our car. But after watching Brian flap and jump and laugh over the vehicle, we didn’t really care about the windows.

The Lane Construction men were so patient with Brian. Eventually Brian got in the water truck while it was parked and operated the lever that made the water spray and figured out the horn. After that, there was no stopping him from climbing in to spray the water. He ran around in euphoria watching the water flow from the water truck. Brian’s three biggest loves are vehicles, water and zoo animals. All we needed was a zebra and it would’ve been the perfect trifecta.

They had several other parked construction vehicles that Brian loudly said, “No, thanks!” about climbing in. But again, the team was so great and so patient, and they waited him out. And then, when he was ready and comfortable, he climbed into each (parked and not running) with the best grin on his face.

At some point, I figured we’d get some bored and tired team members. I wasn’t sure if this was more about positive publicity (which is good too, I think they construction workers deserve a break) than providing Brian with an amazing evening.  But we never hit that roadblock. It was clear, minutes in to the evening, that this was truly about Brian. Every person there was so genuinely happy just to be there and to watch Brian. No one was on a time schedule, and they bent over backwards to make sure it was all about Brian and did whatever it took to make him happy.

A moment like this means the world to our family. Seeing Brian noticed and honored for who he is means everything.

Who would’ve thought us sending a simple thank you to the construction workers would lead to them giving Brian the best “thank you” we could’ve ever hoped for? Brian’s smile clearly says it all.

Side-by-side photos of a boy wearing a hat that says Lane and a bright yellow vest and a hard hat

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