It Always Makes Me Cry

… when people “pay it forward.”  Here’s a sweet story.

Ashley England went to dinner at the Stag-N-Doe pizza restaurant in China Grove 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.”

“He threw the phone and started screaming,” she recalled. “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.”

Just when England was ready to leave, a waitress appeared.

“I’ll try to do this without crying,” the waitress told the family. “But another customer has paid for your bill tonight and wanted me to give you this note.”

The note read: “God only gives special children to special people.”

Riley is non-verbal and has been through three major brain surgeries for a severe form of epilepsy. The seizures started when he was 18-months-old, robbing him of his speech. His mom says he had more than 100 seizures a day.

Riley’s frustration with being unable to speak, often leads to outbursts England says causes many to cruelly judge her son.

“Until a person has walked in the shoes we have walked in,” she said. “They have no right to say one thing.”

I love seeing people show kindness to strangers!  It makes me want to look for opportunities to be kind.

Read the whole story about the mystery diner here.

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  • Richard Smit

    Great Post Sarah Palin i support you 100% ! you are a wonderful and perfect person! and your mother is the greatest person in history!

  • Charli Chad

    Incredibly sweet. Made me tear up. I look forward to your updates and compassionate stories you share.

  • Joseph Ritter

    I love it! My heart goes out to Riley and well as his family, and I pray for healing over him.

  • Bree Merr

    There are so many pathetic stories in the news that such a story as this is a welcome inspiration.

  • David

    The other customer must have had a similar experience.
    Poor Riley. How does the world look through his eyes? I hope that he can learn to communicate some way so that other people can understand what he is going through.

  • Jeff

    What a shame Riley’s parents are so selfish they would put him in situations where he can be cruelly mocked. Again conservatives preach RESPONSIBILITY but don’t really practice it.

    • 1MiddleRoader

      You are waaaaay off base here. Riley’s parents are probably trying to give him as normal a life as possible. The days of locking people up in institutions because they have neurological or developmental disabilities are over! I don’t know the specifics of Riley’s behavioral issues, but kids like him need exposure to different situations. Once a child can control his behavior in a “safe” environment, you gradually expose him to slightly less safer ones. It’s called generalizing. When Riley goes to school and get mocked by another student, do you think his parents should keep him home? Of course not, No, the teachers, etc. deal with the issue.; I realize a restaurant is a different environment and has certain expectations of all its patrons. No one wants to enjoy a meal with a child screaming in his ear. But it can happen with all children. The parents can maybe request a table that’s a little more private, explain to the patrons sitting nearby that their child has issues that are hard to control, or something like that, but they are entitled to a meal out as a family. BTW, how do you know Riley’s parents are conservative?

      • Jeff

        A child who has more than 100 seizures a day should not be taken to a restaurant nor have access to things like phones that can be thrown possibly harming himself and others. The conservatives I am referring to are the ones posting here who find nothing wrong with the parents behavior. In this instance they acted irresponsibly. That is my opinion, and yes if I was a paying customer I would,have been annoyed. It’s rude to the other patrons. I’m sure the family could,get someone to watch Riley while,they have a meal in a restaurant.

        • Jeff

          And further more what kind of god makes special children who suffer like this?

          • Bree Merr

            You don’t like God, Jeff? He loves all people and plans to save those who will accept His love and His way of life.. God’s ability to love special people and sinners is a testament to His Agenda for mankind.. Heartless, unloving and disobedient actions and attitudes are a testament of Evil’s agenda. It is all about choices for all of us. I like God and His Agenda. This kind individual in the story choose to reflect goodness. A choice.

          • Jeff

            I don’t believe in god Bree. But if I did I would feel sorry that god gets blamed for pretty much everything in life. Why would god make a living breathing being that will spend its life knowing only pain and suffering? To teach someone a lesson? To make us a better population? There are many scientific reasons for “special” children. god has nothing to do with it and if I believed in god I would want people to leave him/her/it alone.

          • Jeff

            So the notion that god makes special children and gives them to special people is kind of disgusting to me. Can’t religious people do better? Not be so simple minded?

          • Bree Merr

            I appreciate your sensitive outlook to God, that you do not believe.Jeff. I wish you well and peace of
            mind. No one is perfect. anyone can be mocked.
            Some people are mockers and some are gracious. I am legally blind and hearing
            imparied. I am glad to be alive even tho many choose to look down their nose at
            imperfectons, and many choose to be gracious. It is a choice. I do not accuse God or anyone else for my handicaps.
            I know there is inhumanity and evil… that comes from somewhere. I know their
            is goodness and grace and that comes from somewhere. I know the difference and I
            know where each come from. For anyone to assume imperfect life should be
            destroyed or locked away is assuming all should be destroyed because no one is promised perfection in this life. Anyone thru disease or accident can experience a mental or physical handicap. They too are special and society should be gracious to them as well. Wishing you well Jeff.

          • Rosie

            We all suffer in different ways. But there is always tomorrow. But I see your point. Diseases like tay sachs are devastating and they make you wonder why.

        • 1MiddleRoader

          Truth is, neither of us really know his medical condition well enough to pass judgment. For example, a seizure may not be the stereotypical one. Sometimes a kid just gets glassy-eyed and stares off into space. Not disruptive at all. Sounds like in this particular instance, the kid just threw and phone and screamed. Something, again, all kids do from time to time. I realize that there are some extreme types of behavior that would make it too difficult for the parents to take him to a public restaurant. This, to me, doesn’t sound like one of them. The point of the story was that a stranger was kind enough to recognize a family’s pain, and the family was gracious enough to acknowledge it.

          • Jeff

            Agreed.

        • otlset

          I think the 100 seizures a day remark referred to when he was first diagnosed at 18 months of age, and it robbed him of his speech.

          From the article: “His mom said he had more than 100 seizures a day.” She didn’t say “has”.

        • Rosie

          Epileptic disorders get better with time. Just because a child once had lots of seizures doesn’t mean that is a regular thing. If it were, he’d be dead.

          • 1MiddleRoader

            While sometimes a child’s epilepsy will improve with time, medication, surgery, diet, etc., there are some cases that are very resistant to treatment. One can have 50-100 seizures a day for long periods of time and still survive. There are usually memory and/or learning problems though.

    • conservativemama

      The same could have been said about African Americans or gay people in another time. We don’t hide people anymore.

      • Jeff

        Seriously? Gay people hide all the time. Attacks against gay people happen everyday. Gay people can be fired from their jobs in many states in this country.

        • 1MiddleRoader

          Agreed, But it’s wrong.

        • conservativemama

          But it’s getting better for gay people. And it will continue to get better.

          • Jeff

            Agreed and I hope so :)

          • conservativemama

            When I was in high school, gays were closeted. Today my high school age daughter has gay friends who live openly. We’re changing.

          • Rosie

            When I was in high school, the ONE openly gay male was ostracized by the school and barred from school events because he, like everyone, showed up a little drunk at a dance. Now, he never said he shouldn’t have been punished. But he was the ONLY one punished when other (straight) kids got away with the same behavior scotfree.

            That was 20 year ago.

            It wouldn’t happen now.

            Thank god.

          • Richard Smit

            Hope it will not get better for Gay Liberals! they are the biggest haters!

          • Richard Smit

            Gays have it very good now! they are actually the ones who are the biggest haters!

        • Richard Smit

          Liberals are doing the samething with Christians!

        • Rosie

          And it needs to be changed. No one denies that. There are even liberals who are weirded out by homosexuality because it’s “different.”

          Im SO tired of the terms “racist,” “homophobic” being tossed around randomly. Most people don’t dislike gays and non-caucasians. It’s NATURAL to fear people unlike yourself. Look at history. Look how far we’ve come, with even special needs stigmas.

          So JEFF, why don’t YOU think twice about posting ignorant comments saying parents shouldn’t bring their precious child to restaurants because they MIGHT be mocked.

          You’re a walking contradiction. The more we act as if nothing’s different, the sooner chance can come.

          It takes time for minds to naturally change. NO ONE should be condemned.

    • Richard Smit

      Liberals want to exterminate Special need childeren. Sarah Palin had not aborted trig palin and that is why you liberals all hate her!

      • Jeff

        Love it! You rock Richard Smit!

        • Richard Smit

          i rock in what? i am dong a great job in defending Sarah Palin!

          • Guest

            Not really.

        • Richard Smit

          ANd you you liberals should stop with hating on Sarah Palin and her wonderful family!!

    • otlset

      Who was cruelly mocking him? He was in fact the catalyst for an inspired act of generosity and caring by an anonymous stranger, that likely left a warm loving feeling in the family as well as the waitress for the rest of the evening!

    • Rosie

      I feel sorry for you. There is NO reason a family with a special needs child cannot enjoy a night out like families without special needs kids. You are DISGUSTING. You’re basically saying all kids without special needs are PERFECT in restaurants when in reality, it’s like pullinh teeth to teach kids in general how to behave.

      Your comment disgusts me.

      • Guest

        Not really.
        The comment was right on teh mark.
        You disgust me.

  • Kristy Patullo

    Beautiful, sweet story. A simple act of kindness made this woman’s day. A lesson for us all. God bless all involved. Thanks so much for posting this, Bristol.

  • Addie

    As a parent of a child with more severe special needs, this hits home for me… in both a good way and a bad way….
    In a good way b/c so often, our kids are looked down on and treated as less than human… so for someone to show kindness – it feels pretty amazing
    But the note that was left…. “God only gives special kids to special people” really, really gets under my skin. We adopted our son with special needs (we have two healthy bio kids as well), but we arent “special” or “saints” or whatever people want to label us…. we are just people – normal people…. sometimes who do a poor parenting job b/c we are human…. but we definitely arent special…. and we didnt do anything great for adopting a special needs kid…. we just saw a kid who needed a family and we had room. He’s made our life harder, but he’s made our life better…. I look back on our life before our son and can only think how boring it was…. we wouldnt trade him for the world.

  • Guest

    Bogus.
    Where is the amount?

    • otlset

      That isn’t the bill, it’s the note to the parents from the anonymous party that paid the bill, and in doing gave a lesson to all what it is to be inspired by God.


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