No pie for your spawn!
This happened several years ago, when I was chaperoning a young man with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (let’s call him S) to and from speech therapy. S was using a PECS book for communication. (For those unfamiliar, PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System, and the PECS book is a binder full of pictorial representations of objects, persons, actions, etc., attached by a self-adhesive hook-and-loop fasteners, which are used to build a sentence on a detachable sentence strip. User builds a simple sentence -a request or a statement - and hands it to a communication partner. These day PECS books have been replaced by digital devices - like I mentioned this was a wile back.) It became a custom of ours to stop at the Golden Arches for a meal after the therapy. The place was quite busy, and as we waited in line, we used the time to for S to prepare a sentence strip with his order.
Enter a mother of 5, with her brood in tow. Woman with a “can-I-speak-to-the-manager” haircut begun making loud remarks about how slow the service was (it was not, by the way, there was just a lot of customers in store and a drive-through line was wrapped around the building). Her eldest kid, a girl of about 10-11, whined in turns about the wait, and about wanting an apple pie. When it was our turn to order, S gave his sentence strip to the cashier who read it back and entered it into register. And as all of this was taking place, I heard the “R” word from the whiny girl. Something to the likes of “Ugh! That retarded kid is taking soooooo long to order!”. I saw red. I looked at the mother, and she did nothing, did not say anything to her kid, did not look ashamed in the slightest. Nothing! I kept staring, but she was just avoiding looking at me. I guess in her mind, there’s nothing wrong with her kid calling someone with disability a retard.
So, I did, what any reasonable person would do, I purchased 23 apple pies. Why 23, you ask? Because that’s all they had available. If the spawn of hers wanted an apple pie, she’d have to wait for a fresh batch. S and I got seated in a booth with a good view of the registers, and oh joy, it turned out the restaurant did not have any more apple pies. Mother was fuming, and I felt bad for the staff, but the manager handled it quickly with a coupon offer, and her kids were hungry and whiny, so she gave up the fight, and they all went to seat down. They were shooting me angry looks from across the restaurant, to which I responded with a wide smile, because the faze 2 of my petty revenge had just occurred to me. After our meal, I had S build a sentence on his sentence strip that asked “Do you want apple pie?” (Not the most polite way to ask, but PECS book had its limitations) and we made our way from table to table asking it to diners and handing out pies, as I explained about S’ condition and this being a good exercise in communication and social interactions for him. Everyone was responding kindly, smiling and high-fiving, overall very nice experience for S. When we were down to the last pie, I decided to keep for myself, because there was only our favorite family of 6 left, and heavens know, they were not getting a crumb. As we walked past, the mother went “Excuse me, my daughter would like a pie”. The audacity! So I got the box out the bag, looked the woman square in the eyes and said “I know”. Then I opened it, took a big bite, went “mmmmm”, and we walked out of the place. Very petty, but very, very satisfying.