By now, you may realize that C has special needs. Recently, he was diagnosed with ADHD and are working on a diagnosis for Aspergers. His mood and activity can vary from day to day; this makes going out difficult at times. And we don’t always run into the friendliest employees during his worst moods. I remember two particular incidents where we got less than stellar service. Sometimes being a special needs parent is a little tricky.
A couple of years ago, I went into a small shop in search of a video game. C was with me. Immediately, we were accosted–because that’s what this practice always feels like to me–by an employee who wanted to know if we needed something. He began talking to me and of course, my three-year-old son was soon bored and busied himself by kicking a display. This upset the employee who distracted me and he threatened to kick us out. Because he wanted to make a sale and took my attention away from my son.
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The second incident was a few months ago at a hardware store. An employee there noticed that C was sucking his thumb. I guess she thought he was too old to do so and proceeded to lecture my son about the perils of thumb sucking. She didn’t stop to consider that he might have sensory issues and his thumb is one of the ways he self-regulates. I was very upset by her assumptions.
Both of these incidents serve as a reminder that not everyone is tactful when dealing with special needs children. Sometimes, you will run into someone who is downright ugly. But don’t allow yourself to become demoralized when this happens. There are still companies that consistently treat all customers with respect, special needs or not.
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Both children love shopping at Whole Foods. Why wouldn’t they? The food is healthy and delicious, plus all the employees are kind to us. C has thrown himself on the floor numerous times and W has danced down the aisles singing opera. We were never threatened with being kicked out. In fact, one employee told W she had a great voice. With some research, I found out that all decisions at Whole Foods are made as a team, right down to hiring new employees!
Another place that has always treated us with respect is Chick Fil A. They have a hands-on playroom where kids can be as loud as they want. Employees don’t rush through an order and always thank us for our business. I enjoy the change from other fast food establishments where I’m usually served abruptly. Perhaps what makes the difference is that Chick Fil A purposely seeks out individuals who enjoy serving others.
You may not frequent the same establishments I do, but I am sure you have places that you prefer going to with your children. I always seek out places that truly welcome my children. I find that it makes the day a little easier when I’m greeted with a smile in a business; my children notice the difference, as well.
What places in your town are you and your children always treated with respect?