I am a single mom of a small child with autism . As a mother of a child with autism, I have learned that there are certain repetitive actions that children on the ASD spectrum do in order to help regulate their emotions. One of these activities is motion. My son is addicted to riding bikes. He loves the back-and-forth motion. So, I decided to build him a bike path around my entire house and I went to the Home Depot to accomplish this endeavor. A trip like this can easily fill me with anxiety in anticipation of all that can go wrong but I was a mom on a mission.
I strolled into Home Depot with my three year old in his stroller and a crumpled up piece of paper with some green scribble on it. I explained my plans to a man named Juan in the paint department. Juan did something that I have never witnessed a Home Depot employee do. He stayed with me the entire time! He helped me with the math that I needed to figure out how much paint I would need for my project and he even got a bit excited about my project which really helped me to get more excited about it myself! He never made me feel dumb.
Juan helped me chose the paints and primers that were most affordable for me and most importantly, Juan took the time to read the side of many paint cans and sealants because he saw that my hands were full with my three year old. Without him going above and beyond for me the way he did, I might have given up before I even got started.
Juan encouraged me to go look at the wood and come back for the paint supplies… he didn’t rush me or push me which I really appreciated. I think my initial interaction with him was so positive that it is what was imperative to get me to stay and not give up on my project. He made it seem very doable! He also made sure to tell me he would be leaving on his lunch break soon and that he would leave me in good hands. He explained everything to the woman he handed me over to. She was so helpful as well! She walked me to the cashier and helped me to my car so that I could load my son into his car seat. She was also excited to hear about my project for my son and she told me twice that she thought I was such a great mom for doing all this for my three year old. I was really touched by her compliments because to be honest we really don’t hear that enough from other people in our lives, especially as a mother of a child with autism.
Anyway, the best part of my visit was when the manager walked by when I was checking out the various wood options for my project . He walked me around and showed me what my options were. After telling him about the DIY project I am creating for my son, he made sure that I left with everything I needed for the project , a very happy customer. He even had someone help us measure and cut everything with a hand held saw because their machine was broken. He measured and cut everything so that by the time we left I was able to put 64 pieces of 2×4 plywood into the back of my Volvo and he helped me to tie it up with rope and twine.
The three hours flew by and with everyone’s help and assistance, I was able to care for my three year old while they cut and measured and mixed and secured everything. The type of service that I received during this three hour visit to Home Depot is the kind that I wished I experienced more often. It’s extremely intimidating coming into Home Depot as a female asking for help on a project that is only an idea in my head. And having my kid in tow definitely didn’t make it easier. But, every person I interacted with that day, starting with Juan, helped bring my idea to life. My dream of a do it yourself bike path for my son around my entire house is about to come true because caring people went the extra mile to make this moms dreams for her son come true! I am truly grateful. It feels awesome to be able to do this for my son.