Wednesday, August 28, 2019

For Matty

I often have to travel between the two locations that I work for, which are about 10 minutes apart.  Most days I try to spend 4 hours at one location, and 4 hours at the other.  Since I am typically making the transition around lunchtime, I try to take my time and clear my mind.  There are plenty of restaurants, a home improvement store, and a consignment shop that I can visit.  Admittedly, one of my favorite sinful foods on earth is McDonald's french fries.  I'm pretty sure they are fried with flakes of sunshine and rainbows because they make me so happy.  So, once every week or so, I stop in for a hamburger and fries.  This is where I met "Matty".  

The first time I met Matty, I could tell that he had an MR diagnosis.  But the first thing that really struck me was how HAPPY this young man was.  The second thing that struck me was how the employees associated with Matty.  They were happy to see him, and made him feel right at home.  Matty marched right up to me and stuck out his hand.  He introduced himself and asked for my name, which I obliged.  We told me how he was looking forward to going to an amusement park that day.  I asked him what his favorite ride was, but he couldn't answer as it seemed he couldn't process the question very well.  All he knew was he was excited.

Over the course of the last few months, I've seen Matty a few times and said my hello.  He is excited that I talk with him but I'm pretty certain he doesn't remember me much from the previous encounter.  Something that doesn't change is his sweet disposition and his open heart.  Joy flows from this young man.

Today I walked in for my fry fix, and there sat Matty with a lady I perceived to possibly be his Mom.  I sat myself right next to their table so we could share lunch together.  I shook Matty's hand and I could see him struggle to remember me.  I re-introduced myself and the lady told him that we saw each other last at Burger King where I teased him for not being at McDonalds.  This seemed to spark his memory a little.  The lady explained that she is a caregiver from a local agency and she spends time during the day with Matty.  As curious as I am about him, I know better than to ask many questions.  We have to honor the legal and ethical rights Matty has to his privacy.  Matty was thrilled to have a friend sit and talk to him.  He was pointing out different colors, and complimented me on my fancy shirt (I was wearing a hawaiian shirt).  He repeated the Burger King story back to me time and time again, and then he would laugh.  I showed Matty a picture of Tyler and he was very inquisitive.  He showed me the crew hat that the employees gave him.

I finished eating and told Matty I needed to head back to work.  We looked at my empty tray and said "are you done?".  I nodded and he stood up and said "let me take this for you".  I protested that he didn't have to take my trash for me.  The caregiver touched my arm and said "let him do that for won't talk him out of it anyway".  She was right.  Just like with Tyler, once he set his mind to it, it was over.  Matty took pride in taking care of that for me.  Matty shook my hand twice more and we promised to see each other again.  "At Burger King!"  he said.  And then he laughed and said "take care" as I headed to the door.

Such a simple experience that made such a profound effect on me.  Here is a young man, full of joy and love for others.  He can't remember the names of colors and yet he wanted to show me kindness by taking care of my tray.  His heart only wants to connect with others in the same way.  For this, he is the prime example of human decency and kindness.  I hope that my interactions with him make him feel the same way.  Any I look forward to seeing Matty again real soon.

Be well and God bless.   Tom

Click to Comment!

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! It will be added once it is reviewed. Have a nice day!