Yesterday I had to run some errands and help a friend with a home improvement project. I took Dustin and McCartney and then we decided we would go do a bit of shopping. Heading into Kohls he asked if we could go to the pet store. The answer was no. He obsesses over pet stores and truly I was not in the mood for it today. I told him we were going to the mall next and I would get him a pretzel. I could tell in his eyes that was not acceptable and he was going to make me pay for it.
Once we were inside he kept venturing farther and farther away from me. I ignored it. I could tell he wanted me to chase him. We have not had an issue in public like this for a long time, not since our trip to Kmart where the police were actually involved. I decided that I would not chase him and I actually needed to try on some undergarments so I would just let him wander the store. I was fairly confident he would not leave the store and every time I saw him sneaking by me I would mention to him that he could keep walking around and I would tell him when we were leaving. Of course I was smiling even though I wanted to holler at him to get his butt back over here where I asked him to be! I did not want an incident, little did I know . . .
When it was time to go, we headed toward the checkout. He came by soon and I told him we were leaving. He jumped, hollered NO, and ran away. I explained to the checkout girl that he was special needs (even though he is bigger than me and look completely typical) and I didn't want to cause a scene. I told her I was going to go sit on the bench near the door and wait. She was very kind and asked if I wanted her to page him, I knew it wouldn't do any good. I wanted to chase him down with every fiber of my being, but I knew it would be ugly, and quite frankly since I broke my leg last year I have a hard time walking, let alone running. Also, I am trying to have GRACE this year and I thought that waiting patiently and being non-confrontational would result in a better ending for all of us.
After sitting there about a half hour, I knew we had not made any progress. I knew it was time to see if I could get him to comply. I walked toward the back of the store and asked McCartney to stay up front. I saw him and he ran back to the bathroom next to the service desk. I was thrilled. I knew he was trapped and I knew if I just waited him out, I could snatch him when he came back out. I explained to the service desk that he was special needs and that I would likely be creating a scene when he came out. The young man and woman there seemed to understand and gave me those sympathetic eyes. There were 12 or so people in line to return merchandise too. I was irritated and embarrassed by the point and my voice was bit quivery but I was holding it together. The worst part is that McCartney had no idea I was standing there and I was worried because she was still up front.
I waited. And waited. After about 10 minutes I figured he knew I was out there and he was not going to come out. I decided to go into the men's restroom and talk to him. Nice. He was huddled into the corner of the handicapped stall and refused to talk to me at all. I knew we were at a standstill. The stall lock was not one that I could unlock from outside and I was not able to crawl under (ew!). I walked back out defeated with people staring.
The young man at the service desk asked if he could try. I told him I didn't think it would make a difference and I was worried it would irritate the customers standing in line to be helped. HE said he wanted to try. After about 5 minutes he opened the door and Dustin came walking out. I was thrilled! I told him how thankful I was and that I appreciated his kindness. I began to sob and he siad, "Can I hug you?" It was very kind and very much appreciated. I was mortified and he made me feel very understood. This young man was only about 25 years old. I was so very thankful.
I held Dustin's wrost and made the trek back up the front of the store with him hollering all the way. It was fabulous I tell ya! (not) By this point McCartney had found me and was just as embarrassed as I was. We left the store with him yelling and me sobbing.
I put him in the car and took him home. I picked up Harrison and we went to the mall. I really did not want to go but McCartney was looking forward to spending her gift cards from Christmas. We stopped at the pretzel place and sat down to eat. A little girl walked past us with her parents. She was mentally handicapped and had an obvious outward disability. She was carrying on and her parents were simply holding her arm and walking through the mall. Harrison looked at me and said, "Mom, see that girl over there? I kind of wish Dustin looked like her. Then people would know why he acts like he does. They wouldn't think it was your fault."
Yes, dear boy. Me too. Sigh.
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