To the Woman Who Gave Me Something to Strive for as a Person on the Autism Spectrum


Quite a few years ago, before online movie streaming, there was a place some folks may remember as the video rental store. I went there quite a few times, picking up some of my favorite movies that I would watch to escape from the world.

I loved looking through the return slot outside and trying to watch the movies disappear when I brought them back. The people who worked there were extra special. They were fun, kind and understanding. And this was before I was even diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

One day, my mom came home from renting a movie. I met her in the driveway as she got out of the car. We started having an everyday conversation, and then she stopped.

“By the way, I wanted to tell you that as I was going to pay for the movie, the young woman behind the counter was talking about you,” she said. “She looked at me and said that you are going to go far in life. I said back to her that I thought so, too. But she responded by saying no. She said she knows you will go far. I just thought you should hear that.”

At the time, I didn’t really understand. It was nice to know that someone believed in me like that. But I didn’t realize how amazing that was. I look back on it now, probably over 10 years later, and I still hear those words clearly. Someone who barely knew me truly believed in me. And every time I faced challenges, I remembered those words again. It gave me something to strive for. I wanted to live up to what she had said. I wanted to go far.

And as someone on the spectrum, I have. I can drive. I am independent. I’m an author and a public speaker. I even volunteer my time to help others. These have been huge accomplishments for me.

So, to the woman at the video rental store, I want to thank you. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t really know what to believe. Thank you for seeing me for the person I am, and for reminding me how capable I am. I hope that I’ve lived up to your expectations, and that I continue to do so.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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