This I Believe

Kourtney - Des Moines, Iowa
Entered on January 25, 2008

Every Tuesday he gets off the bus, smiling ear to ear, eager to tell me what happened at school. He’s ready to go out and experience life one day at a time. Chad is not like other kids, he doesn’t look like they look, or talk like others talk, but one thing is the same, he too has a heart just as well as anyone else. He has taught me to believe in saying thank you.

Chad is like any other kid his age, he likes to go out and experience the world. Always willing to learn something or meet someone new. On this particular Tuesday we were going to the local public library, one of his favorite places. We walk through the front door and he immediately tells me to “shh” because we were inside the library. He immediately walks directly to the movie section and starts glancing through the shelves. The library was full of other kids his age, playing games on the computer, getting books for their research papers, and chatting with friends. I noticed people staring and tapping their friends showing them this boy looking for his favorite Batman movie. He did not notice a thing.

Once Chad found the Batman movie he had been talking about for weeks, he hurried to the check out desk wanting to get home as soon as possible to start watching his movie. We had been standing in line behind a young teenage girl checking out her books. There was a kind librarian asking how school was going and talking about the snow we were supposed to be getting that night. Once the girl was checked out the librarians said something so basic, “thank you.”

It was Chad’s turn, he walks up to the counter and proudly puts the Batman movie down. As he was fumbling to get his library card out of his wallet with gloves on his hands the librarian impatiently said “I need you card.” Chad was able to finally get his card and handed it to the waiting librarian. She checked out the movie and handed it back with no exchange of words. Chad stood there for a moment, then looked the librarian directly in the eye and said “thank you.”

Chad is a teenage boy dealing with Down syndrome. He lives each day at a time and never is bothered by the staring, or rudeness. In a way he kills them with kindness. These people do not think he understands or assumes he is with it, when in reality he see and understands everything around him and knows he is not treated like other kids. Yet, he still finds the strength to say “thank you” to someone he knows is treating him differently. This is why I believe in saying “thank you.”