I’m thankful for my super art powers…
6:30 AM I was having coffee and speaking with my friend at Starbucks when a father and 2 young boys came in. The youngest about 8 or 9 was upset and loud enough for everyone in Starbucks to hear. His father was telling him they will go back when the bagel store opens, but the boy was inconsolable and screaming. The father apologized to us, and I said it’s okay.
I realized this was not a young boy misbehaving, this was a young boy with Nero-diversity issues he could not control, possibly autism, and his father though uncomfortable, appeared quite used to handle dealing with the issues plaguing his son. The older brother, maybe 12 or so was quiet. I hurt inside for all of them.
A lady came in and gave the father a bagel. He told his son she brought it from the bagel store. Yey! Problem solved! Nope! The boy screamed really loud “IT’S NOT!” The father tried convincing him it was, and the boy’s mood escalated to a crying yelling meltdown with the boy tossing the bagel. The father calmly apologized again for his son’s uncontrollable outbursts. Having worked with neuro-diverse kids including autistic kids, I thought I’d try a little art magic.
I ask the barista for a white bag and sharpie then ask the dad what his son likes. The dad says, “thanks, but you really don’t have to” in a way that implied it won’t help. The older son says.. “Buzz Lightyear, he likes Buzz Lightyear.” So I sat in the chair in front of the crying boy and started to draw Buzz.
As soon as Buzz was remotely recognizable, the boy quieted. HIs focus went in and out, but I had him engaged and forgetting about the bagel… soon he began to smile… I did too! I think the entire room did. The other son repeatedly said, “Thank you” as if witnessing a miracle.
Then I asked the young boy to help me draw Buzz, and I put the marker in his hand. I knew this would engage him even more. He lit up even more! When we finish drawing Buzz, he said, “where’s Woody?” We drew Woody too and then I had to go. I let smiling and a little teary-eyed, wishing I could do more. So if you ever wonder why I do so many shows for charities, now you have a little insight.