While I worked on homework on a sunny Saturday afternoon, my husband took my son to the grocery store to pick up a few things so we could have a lazy barbeque this evening. My son is Autistic (high functioning, Asperger's) and has a few behaviors that unsuspecting strangers probably take as annoying, but it is not something he can control all of the time, and not something we can always stop without causing larger issues. One of these is repeating himself, often dozens or more times, rarely in anything more than a whisper or normal speaking voice, but he'll say the exact same thing over and over. We tend to ignore this one, particularly when he's in a happy mood, because it doesn't hurt anything and it tends to make him agitated and self-conscious if we do address it, particularly in public. We typically let it go, and he chirps about whatever he feels like chatting about. No harm.
Anyway, while at the checkout line, he started this repetitive behavior. As usual, my husband replied where replies were warranted, but focused primarily upon getting things on the belt and checking out. The girl at the register talked to my husband, but the girl bagging had this conversation with my husband:
Bag Girl: He repeats things a lot.
Husband: Yeah, that's him.
Bag Girl: That's really annoying.
Husband: (shocked) He's autistic.
Bag Girl: Yeah, he needs to grow out of that.
Luckily, my husband is the more reserved of the two of us, and I wasn't there. Also, luckily for the bagger girl, our son was in the zone and did not hear her, else he tends to get very self-conscious, withdrawn, and we go berserk on whoever opened their mouths (husband being reserved or not). Since our son did not hear, my husband chose to let it go for the moment, rather than make a scene, demand to see a manager, or cause a stir because he did not want to upset the kiddo. Instead, when he got home, he wrote a note to the store suggesting they address the little bagger girl's attitude and educate their people on tolerance.
Is it old school of me to recall my mother telling me over and over, "If you do not have something nice to say, say nothing at all"? Where did that sentiment go? This is neither the first time, or likely the last that we run into an intolerant, ignorant idiot that forces us to exercise undue self-restraint, but it is becoming a more common occurrence and makes me wonder what also happened to "think before you speak." We know life will not be easy and our son will probably have to put up with people like this for the rest of his life, but goodness, I don't know that I've ever felt a more violent urge than I do right now, and thought I'd vent upon you unsuspecting passersby. In short, if a kid is otherwise happy and keeping to himself, not screaming or otherwise raising his voice like some in the store tend to do, not running through the aisles (he's not allowed to wander more than arm's-reach from us when he's out)...a good rule of thumb is to keep quiet. He would have been through her line in less than two minutes and no longer "annoying" her, but now, we're getting in touch with their corporate management and hope the little ignoramus is fired. If we see her there again, there are other stores to do business.