Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers....

Noah loves baseball. Anyone who knows Noah, knows that when Noah loves something, he OBSESSES about it. He memorizes facts and tidbits, and could give you the batting average of any pro player you can think of from Babe Ruth on. He dreams of becoming a pro baseball player. He loves the Tigers best, and dreams of playing with them when he gets drafted out of high school. (His idea.)

We went to a Tigers game this summer, it was perhaps the happiest I had seen him in a long while. He is at that awkward age of 12, and I'm never sure what he is thinking, or how he is feeling. His conversations are often limited to a concise answer to the question asked. He hangs out in what we refer to as the "Bat Cave" and watches baseball, or Sports Center. While we were at the game, Brandon Inge got his 100oth hit. Noah was so excited for him. You would have thought Noah was the one with 1000 career hits.

Brandon Inge was in town today at a Children's Expo signing autographs. A couple of years ago he came to our little league opening day and signed autographs, he donates a lot of money to the hospital, and visits sick kids. He really is the kind of sports hero you can feel good about your kid looking up to. And Noah really thinks he is the greatest.

So after some hmmming and hawwwing, I decided to surprise the kids and take them to get autographs. We arrived and were pleasantly surprised to find that the place was not mobbed.
There were lots of vendors offering give aways, and free consultations, and Brandon Inge and Mark Price were at the back signing autographs.

By this time I had told the kids what we were doing, and they eagerly got in line to get autographs. As we neared the front, I noticed a table selling tickets, and asked what they were for. A man explained that in order to get an autograph it was necessary to make a minimum donation of ten dollars PER autograph to Jack's Place for Autism. My heart dropped as I looked at my five excited kids, and Noah holding his beloved baseball glove he was hoping to have signed. I didn't have fifty dollars for autographs! I had all of twenty dollars in my purse! I sadly told the kids to get out of line, and Noah attempted to be stoic as I watched his face fall. Just then, a lady behind me said, "I'll get him his autograph. My son is autistic." I looked up in disbelief as she handed ten dollars to Noah. I thanked her profusely and explained that he too is on the ASD spectrum, and that baseball is his current obsession. She smiled and said, "Well then that means I gave ten dollars to the right kid. He deserves it."

Noah walked up in awe and got his autograph. He shook Brandon's hand, and slid his glove forward. He's worried now that if he plays in the rain the autograph could get marred, but it's there, and he knows it, and that makes him smile. I asked him later what he said when he got his glove signed. He smiled and said, "I think all I could think to say was hi." :)

I donated my last twenty dollars to Jack's Place and Ricky and Matthew got their autographs too. The girls were happy with free face painting.

God is good. All the time.

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