I can't imagine how hard it is for parents who have children living with autism. The way people treat those with differences can be so mean, and to watch your child be excluded is a gut-wrenching feeling.
Kim, a mom to a 13-year-old autistic daughter named Amy, unfortunately knows what that feels like. Amy has trouble making friends and coping in social settings, but deep down she's just the same as everyone else. One year when she was younger, Amy invited a lot of kids to her birthday party, but no one showed up. Since then, Kim has never let Amy have a party again, fearing her daughter would once again face that painful rejection.
For Amy's 13th birthday, Kim decided to order her a special cake from a bakery, covered in tons of flowers since Amy is "obsessed" with flowers. While on the phone with Elizabeth Scott, who works at Savage's Bakery where Kim was ordering from, the two go to talking about how Amy had never had a birthday party. Elizabeth didn't know what to say. She was stunned that a 13-year-old girl would be alone on her birthday.
That's when she knew she had to step up and help.
"This spoke to my heart," Elizabeth told AL.com. "I told her we would invite a bunch of folks and make it extra special."
Elizabeth decided to post about a party for Amy on the bakery's Facebook page, and also sought the help of KultureCity, which is an organization that helps public places become more sensory-friendly, which can drastically help those living with autism.
The party was planned, but Elizabeth thought only a few people would show up. She was wrong!
Tons of people showed up to Amy's party, with presents and well wishes for the new teen.
KultureCity, which was founded by Dr. Julian Maha, who has a son with non-verbal autism, provided a sensory activation vehicle, which has different features that help children with autism calm down. The vehicle helped Amy relax, while also bringing her together with the other kids at the party. They all joined Amy in the vehicle, and learned about what helps calm her down.
The entire bakery was also covered in flowers for Amy, since she loved them so much. She even got a tour of the kitchen to see where her cake was made!
Kim was over the moon that Savage's Bakery, and more specifically Elizabeth, had responded in such a welcoming way. She was brought to tears at the pure kindness they displayed.
"She had an awesome day," Kim said.
Amy's favorite gift of the day was a stuffed chicken that makes clucking noises.
"We live on a farm, and she loves chickens," Kim told AL.com. "She had a field day with that."
The day was a huge success. Amy got to experience a birthday party, Kim got to watch her daughter enjoy something other kids take for granted, and Elizabeth was just thrilled to help out where she could.
"We made it a special day for her," Elizabeth said. "Amy was all smiles, all day long."
It's so wonderful to hear that there are people who will work to include others, even if those people are strangers.