A Big Long Hug

By Yudysseus • February 18, 2020

One of my favorite moments in life happened last year.

My boss and I were at this convention/fair for people with developmental disabilities to recruit parents of kids on the spectrum to participate in a study.

My boss is talking to this lovely couple, I approach them and stand nearby as they’re speaking. The couple’s son - possibly early teens - comes and stands near the mother, he’s making no eye contact and avoiding looking at anyone entirely.

As the conversation starts wrapping up my boss – with the parents permission – engages the boy in saying goodbye. The mother and father encourage their son to shake hands as a way of saying farewell.

The boy - without looking at him - shakes hands with my boss. Then looks right up at me, approaches me, and gives me a big long hug.

The parents looked like they wanted to cry. I definitely wanted to cry. I’m a giant gorilla of a man, but I melted like butter at this young man’s display of affection to a stranger he felt comfortable with.

One of those things that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life.

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