Most parents of children with disabilities dream of a world in which their kids will be treated equally as every other child out there. However, the reality is that people who have certain disabilities are many times either overlooked or stared at, and that breaks their parents’ hearts.
Owen Long has autism and his parents are going above and beyond to teach him how to adjust to the outside world so that he can function independently as much as he can. One time, they sent him to the Sun Cuisines, a local New York restaurant, to ask for a takeout menu while they were waiting for him in the car. Neither his mom nor dad expected for this experience to turn into one they will never forget.
Owen practiced how to ask for the menu and once he felt ready, he left the vehicle and entered the place. His dad Pat waited for a while but realized it took too much time for Owen to get back so he suspected something turned wrong. When Pat got inside the restaurant to check on his son, he was stunned by what he saw. Owen was eating all by himself, and it made Pat extremely happy. But how did his son who struggles talking to strangers felt comfortable to sit and have his meal there?
As it turns out, Owen asked for the menu, but then owner Aye Thein asked him whether he wanted something to eat there, to which Owen replied how he wanted beef. The chef prepared beef curry which the boy liked.
“Apparently, he told the hostess ‘I’m hungry.’ So she sat him down and asked what he wanted to eat, and he answered: ‘beef.’ She told her cooks, ‘hurry, this boy is very hungry,’ and made him a beef curry with rice. She said that he was so sweet she was planning on letting him eat for free,” Owen’s mom, Sandra, said.
“That is just so uncommonly kind. Like how often can you imagine someone, you know I’m gonna cry thinking about it,” she added.
The parents took a photo of their son and shared it online. In a matter of days, the owner, Aye, received praise from hundreds of people. She treated Owen with such kindness like he never experienced from a stranger before, and that meant the world for the family.
Many media outlets were quick to pick up the story and contact Aye. She explained how the motto of their restaurant is “Ask and you shall receive” and how she was just practicing Mettā, part of Buddhism and her Burmese culture, which means love and kindness to everybody.
This story is truly heartwarming, not only because an autistic boy learned what kindness from strangers is, but because it shows just how important it is to embrace different cultures from people who come to America from many parts of the world.
You can check the whole story out in the video below. Heartwarming, indeed.