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Man Writes Perfect Response to the Woman Who Called Him the R-Word

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A man with Asperger’s syndrome had an unpleasant encounter with a stranger at a train station Tuesday morning, which resulted in him being called a “retard.”

Bryan, who runs the Facebook page Asperger’s Syndrome Awareness: Bryan’s Advocacy, wrote about the experience in the powerful post below. Specifically, he had two words to say to the unkind stranger: Thank you.

Dear woman that decided to call me a retard today. Thank you.Thank you for helping me understand that more awareness…

Posted by ASPERGER'S SYNDROME AWARENESS – Bryan's Advocacy on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

His Facebook post reads:

Dear woman that decided to call me a retard today. Thank you.

Thank you for helping me understand that more awareness and understanding is needed for those with special needs.

Today I was casually sitting at the train station preparing to head to work when I saw a lady come running out onto the platform towards the train but it was too late. She had missed it.

The trains were delayed today and so I was monitoring the electronic train timetable to make sure I got to work on time. I realised the train the lady missed had another one coming in five minutes time. She looked quite distressed. So I walked up to her and was just just about to tell her so. I tapped her on the shoulder and she gave me a look so venomous that I almost stuttered at the beginning of my sentence. I said ‘there’s another train coming in five minutes, don’t worry’.

The lady then proceeded to shout at me in the middle of a packed train station. She said ‘DO NOT TOUCH ME. YOU DON’T FU**ING TOUCH STRANGERS. YOU MAY HAVE FU**KING GERMS’

I then said ‘sorry, I just wanted to tell you…’ but she cut me off and shouted ‘YOU LOOK LIKE A RETARD’

Completely taken aback I fell silent, and she walked off. Perhaps I shouldn’t have tapped her on the shoulder, and should have respected her personal boundaries, but the venomous look she gave me and the word ‘retard’ made me very upset.

Now that a few hours have passed and am no longer anxious, I want to say ‘thank you’ – you have taught me, however aggressively about personal space, and that pages like this are needed. The word ‘retard’ is not acceptable and to casually throw that word around without even knowing I have Asperger’s is a disgrace.

I hope you read this, and come to realise that your choice of wording may not have been the most appropriate, and to please consider others that struggle on a daily basis when you use that word. I truly wish you a fantastic day, and I hope you can get over your anger.


Bryan was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was 23. He spent his childhood and teen years not knowing who he was. Now, though, he wants to help others by raising awareness and understanding about autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

Though he admits that perhaps he shouldn’t have touched the stranger at the train station, he’s hopeful that sharing this story can help individuals understand how their words can have a great impact.

“I had no negative feelings towards her, and I truly wish her the best,” Bryan told The Mighty. “If I could meet this lady in a place which wasn’t so crowded I would talk to her and see if she’s OK and buy her coffee or something. As an advocate I need to keep a cool head, even though what she said was still very hurtful.”

Originally published: December 8, 2015
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