Kindness goes a long way, regardless of who you are. When you’re a kid, though, it is especially important to be both on the receiving and giving end of it, because it’s a lesson in empathy. Stephanie Skaggs, a mom of six and Zumba instructor, definitely believes in the gift of kindness tenfold.
Her daughter Baylee, now 5, has autism. She recently took Baylee to Kentucky Kingdom, an outdoor amusement and water park, last month. Because it’s a particularly loud and packed place, it was initially hard for Baylee to process everything going on around her. Skaggs explained to TODAY:
“Standing in line is so hard for her, because she doesn’t understand why she can’t just go around. So it’s a process and we really had to establish the routine.”
Sadly, the process was twice broken when another kid cut in front of the line–which of course put Skaggs on edge, because she didn’t know how Baylee would react to these rule-breakers. However, something else unexpected happened. Each time, another child in line who was ahead of Baylee would offer Baylee their spot. It happened twice–Skaggs later realized these extra kind children, a boy and a girl, were siblings:
“I was wondering if I had said something, or if it was the way I was coaching her, and they had somehow picked up that she had special circumstances. I just thought it was so sweet that two kids could be so selfless and intuitive. Because Baylee doesn’t have a sign or anything that says, ‘I have autism!’”
Skaggs later thanked the children and their mom. She also went home and write a Facebook post as a letter to the mom at the water park, because she was so moved. Not surprisingly, the post went viral–making its way to the mom, Laura Jones, who also lives in Louisville:
Jones, who has three children herself, told TODAY how surprised she was that her kids made such an impression on Skaggs:
“I tried to explain it to them. You never know who you’re going to touch…I think people should just be nice to each other.”
What’s even more beautiful is the fact that the moms are now friends–and they even went to the water park today with their kids, together.