If you’ve got children with special needs — or know people who do — then you know how painful the normally pleasant experience of dining out can be. Trying to avoid the stares, the rude comments, your child’s next meltdown and those nasty looks from servers and other customers is enough to make families with special needs avoid restaurants all together.
Meet Ashley England, mother of Riley, a beautiful eight-year-old boy with sparkling blue-green eyes and a great smile. Unfortunately, he also has a case of epilepsy that causes him to have as many as 100 seizures a day. Riley’s special needs are so severe that despite three rounds of brain surgery, he still cannot speak: Which Riley often finds intolerably frustrating.
Ashley England went to dinner at the Stag-N-Doe pizza restaurant in China Grove [N.C.] with her family on Friday evening, including her 8-year-old son, Riley. The family was sitting at the table when Riley, who has special needs, began to get “a little rowdy.”
England told reporters that, much to her distress, Riley totally lost it.
“He threw the phone and started screaming. The past few weeks have been very hard and trying for us – especially with public outings. Riley was getting loud and hitting the table and I know it was aggravating to some people.”
As England got ready to pay the tab and get her family the heck out of there, the waitress came to their table and said:
“I’ll try to do this without crying, but another customer has paid for your bill tonight and wanted me to give you this note.”
A note of encouragement for all families whose children have special needs.
The note was written on what would have been the bill, and said:
“God only gives special children to special people.”
England expressed heartfelt gratitude for this beautiful act of kindness.
“To have someone do that small act towards us shows that some people absolutely understand what we are going through and how hard it is to face the public sometimes. They made me cry, blessed me more than they know – I felt like out of all the rude negative comments that we are faced with – these outweighs them. The people who care!”
Here’s a photo of Riley England.