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Trader Joe's Employee's Moment of Kindness Moves Special Needs Mom to Tears

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One grocery store clerk’s simple act of kindness brought a special needs mom to tears.

Alisen Booth, from Brentwood, California, was at a Trader Joe’s near her home doing some shopping with her 5-year-old son Hank on Wednesday. Hank, who has autism, was having a rough day — Booth had picked him up early from school after he had a fall. Booth was trying to soothe him, look after his little brother and shop all at once. Hank was getting increasingly frustrated.

“Normally, when I’m out shopping, people look at me like, ‘Why isn’t your kid behaving? Why cant you handle your kid?’” Booth told The Mighty. “Nobody seems to think, ‘Maybe this kid is dealing with sensory overload. Maybe theres something else going on.’”

Finally, realizing there was too much going on and it was time to go, Booth got into the checkout line. Hank, still in overload, continued to take items from the shelves and the cart, until the Trader Joe’s cashier leaned down and started talking with him.

Cashier interacting with little boy.
Courtesy of Alisen Booth.

She engaged Hank and taught him how to scan the barcode on groceries, letting him check out his mother’s entire cart. She then gave him and his little brother some stickers as a present. Hank lit up immediately.

“She was very hands on and very caring,” Booth told The Mighty. “No one has ever done that before for us before. She didn’t even ask questions about Hank or his behavior, she just wanted to help. It blew me away.”

Boy and cashier.
Courtesy of Alisen Booth.

The small interaction completely charmed Hank and helped calm him down. Booth, touched by the gesture, snapped some photos, paid for her groceries and then, once in her car, started crying.

Later, she shared the story on Facebook. Someone who saw it put Booth in touch with the cashier, who turned out to have gone to high school with her husband. Booth was able to thank her some more.

Cashier and boy.
Courtesy of Alisen Booth.

Booth says for the rest of the day Hank was proud of himself and excited. He mentioned that he wants to be a Trader Joe’s cashier one day.

“I wish people would be more compassionate not just to people with special needs, but people in general. A smile, a hug, a touch, even a handshake can help anybody’s day. She made him feel like he had a purpose,” Booth told The Mighty. “It made his day, it really did.”

Cashier and boy.
Courtesy of Alisen Booth.
Originally published: February 19, 2016
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