Grocery shopping with a person with disabilities is not always easy. We know this firsthand. We remember many times when our daughter Danielle would wreak havoc in the aisles by pulling items of the shelves, opening bags of food that would spill onto the floor. Thankfully she doesn’t do these things anymore. Nowadays Danielle will walk with us, patiently helping us push the shopping cart. She will even load items on the conveyor belt for the cashier with prompts and assistance from us.
Recently, we were shopping and Danielle started to ask for cheese from the deli counter by using the picture communication program on her iPad device. This program allows her to speak out loud when she touches picture icons on her tablet. The young man assisting us at the deli counter asked why she was using an iPad to speak. We explained that she has autism and that is how she is able to communicate. He responded, “I understand because I have Asperger’s, well, technically.”
He asked a lot of questions, and some of them Danielle could answer. During their “conversation” others at the deli counter were paying attention and smiling. It would have been a lot quicker to shop alone without Danielle, but she benefits from being out in the community interacting as best she can. Others benefit from interacting with her, even if just observing her.
There’s a great verse from the Bible where Saint Paul reminds us, “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2). The interaction between Danielle, the young man at the deli counter, and those observing them was a tangible and sweet reminder of how God sends His angelic messengers to all of us.
In many ways we have seen how people with special needs make a meaningful contribution by simply being who they are. Like angels, they carry God’s love for all the rest of us to see.
Copyright 2019 David and Mercedes Rizzo