I was looking at the directory in the building where my doctor’s office was, trying to figure out where I was supposed to get my blood drawn. The door opened behind me, and suddenly, two small arms come out of nowhere and gave me a huge hug. I looked down, and there was this little boy with a huge grin on his face. I was surprised, but he was so cute, giving me a hug with so much love and enthusiasm, that it made me smile. It cheered me up, too, since I had been really down most of the week. I said, “Thank you for the hug! I really needed one today!” He made a happy noise and continued to hug me until his mother came in. She looked at us, smiled, and said to me, “Wow, he doesn’t normally do that, he must like you!” I told her that he was really sweet and that his hug had really cheered me up. She thanked me again, and went into her doctor’s office, and I went the other way.
Funny enough, we both ended up in the lab to get blood drawn. We were able to talk while we were waiting our turn to get stuck with needles.
“Thank you for being nice to my son. He’s autistic, and most people just turn away from him because of how he looks and because he doesn’t talk. I’m surprised he hugged you right away. He must have seen something in you he liked.”
“People turn away from him? He’s so sweet!” I told her. I was angry that people would turn away from him, when all he wanted to do was show love. Sure, his head was too big, and he could only communicate using hand and foot gestures, but did that really matter? He’s still human! We started talking more and I told her about some of the activism I’ve been involved with around human rights. Because of my science background, I got involved in AIDS activism. I remembered when AIDS was first being talked about in the news, and how people with AIDS were being treated like lepers. It angered me, as much as people turning away from this boy, because I believe that everyone deserves love and compassion, no matter who they are. Love and compassion can soothe hurt, give hope, and put someone at ease in the last moments of their life. I believe it’s the most important thing we can give to one another.
The mother smiled at me, saying that she hoped that I would continue doing that kind of work. I smiled back, and waved to the little boy as they were called into the office. I felt lucky to get a hug from him. I’m glad I was there to receive such a beautiful and rare gift.
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