Autism is an inherited brain disorder that makes it difficult for children to behave, communicate, and connect with, or to other people. It’s a disorder that is usually detected in early childhood but may show symptoms in the teen years, as well. In some cases, children won’t talk and appear to be unable to hear, although tests will indicate that there is nothing wrong with their hearing. The symptoms are so diverse that there can be no standard description for people afflicted with autism.
Shanell Mouland writes the blog “Go Team Kate”. Her latest entry has the web abuzz with one of the most endearing stories about her daughter Kate and a businessman name Eric Kunkel. Kate is 3 years old and has autism, which makes her act and react differently in stressful situation. According to Shanell, Kate has difficulty remaining still for long periods of time. They—Shanell and Kate—met Eric Kunkel on a plane when he took the seat next to them. The flight would take more than 2 hours and when Shanell saw Eric sit down; she became somewhat apprehensive about what might happen. Predictably, Kate began talking with Mr. Kunkel, calling him “Daddy.” Shanell was extremely surprised when Eric didn’t shy away. He instead set his work aside and enjoyed small talk, and played with the little girl.
In Shanell’s blog, she explains how patient and understanding Eric Kunkel was with her daughter. She explains that many people passed the empty seat up and how, at first, she thought that it might remain empty. Shanell also explains that she became anxious that Kate might spill something on Eric’s papers—fearing that they might be extremely important—and this caused her great concern. The plane ride was a success, although it grew tense near the end when Kate began to scream to get her seatbelt off. Even this did not disturb the helpful Mr. Kunkel as he tried to distract Kate. Eric Kunkel’s kindness and patience made what could have been a bad situation, a very pleasant one for Shanell and Kate.
He played and was very attentive to the little girl’s wishes and needs for attention. This was a new and surprising situation for Shanell and Kate, as others have not always understood the little girl’s disorder. It was so pleasant that it prompted Shanell to write a Dear Daddy letter to thank the man who had shown so much patience with her child. Eric Kunkel made Shanell and Kate’s 2 hour plane ride far more satisfying and much-less stressful than had been anticipated. We should all try to be more understanding and more patient with those around us. We never know what someone’s back story might be, or how our actions can affect them.