Community Kindness

The last time my husband went to the grocery store, the checkout clerk told him how friendly our special needs son was on our previous trip there. She mentioned how happy he seemed with “the nanny.”

The thing is, we don’t have a nanny. Trust me, I’d love a nanny — I dream of what it would be like if we did. And I’ll take it as a compliment that I look young enough compared to my husband to be confused as “the nanny.” What made this humorous experience so notable to me wasn’t the flattering mistake made by the clerk, but rather the kind relationship that we’ve seen develop lately for us in our town.

Our son has autism, and he can be a bit of a handful out in public. As his parents though, we’ve never let that keep us from getting out and doing activities as if he didn’t have any extra challenges. Consequently, I often find myself trying to stay calm, repeating my mantra of “quiet voices in the store” to him as I sweat under my much-too-warm puffy coat. Lately though, I’ve been surprised at the intentionally friendly nature of those we’ve encountered in Rochester, even when our son is not in a particularly pleasant mood. It has been so noticeable to me recently, that I’m hoping others in our area are experiencing this joy in our community as well.

Many people describe the holidays and winter as a stressful time, with agitated shoppers and then afterwards everything becomes depressing and dreary. Contrary to what you’d expect, this year has seemed so opposite to me. We’ve been warmly welcomed by some very helpful people at Whole Foods, who have learned our names and always put on a smile for us. At Home Depot, one of our son’s favorite places, we’ve been given great attention and the employees have been very friendly. Even at the Benjamin Moore paint store, when our son was having a particularly rough day, the young lady assisting us was so sweet to him, that you could just see the goodness in her heart.

The truly gray and snowy days of winter are finally here. As we find ourselves stuck scraping our windshields and bundling up only to get too warm waiting to leave, I hope you are encouraged now as I am. I hope everyone in Rochester will defy the temptation to let his or her mood drop along with the thermometer. Let’s continue to embrace the hospitality and the generous nature of the people in our great hometown, and warm the coldest season with the joy of a simple smile and a kind hello.

About Heidi Morris

Rochester Hills mom of three. Loves life, loves family, loves to share new and interesting things with everyone. Contact her today at

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