Father of four David Burke, from Great Horton in Bradford, England, approached the checkout with his son, Jay, ready to purchase their groceries, when Jay became fascinated by the product scanner at a nearby vacant checkout station and proceeded to occupy the empty stall, wanting to use the equipment.
David braced himself for a reprimand as the supermarket manager approached. Instead, the manager, James, greeted David and his 10-year-old son with an entirely unexpected suggestion.
James offered to open the closed checkout lane so that Jay could use the scanner and ring up the family’s purchases himself. David later told BBC that his son was “thrilled to bits.” Shopping with a child with special needs, David added, can be “really difficult.”
Footage taken from the occasion shows Jay ringing through a jar of sauce, two packs of onions, a head of broccoli, a bottle of water, and a whole chicken by himself using the store’s checkout scanner. Store manager James and another staffer hover nearby, assisting the boy as he scans the barcodes one by one.
It’s smiles all round as David briefly interrupts his son’s concentration to inform him that their friend is watching and laughing from outside the store; Jay, absorbed in his task, looks up from the checkout station for a second and waves enthusiastically.
David, who is a firefighter, described his son to BBC as “incredibly independent.”
“He’s a little charmer,” David added, “and it’s amazing to be the parent of a child that brings the absolute best out in people.”
David and Jay’s shopping trip made headlines after the father shared his footage with the news media. The Tesco store manager and staffers were widely praised for their friendly, kind-natured attitude toward their young customer and his fascination with the checkout equipment.
David revealed that Tesco was Jay’s favorite store at the time of their now-viral shopping trip in October 2018, speaking to the Daily Mail. Jay’s family had even taken to calling the 10-year-old “the ultimate icebreaker,” a nickname earned for his ability to talk to anyone.
Neither David nor Jay, however, had ever met store manager James before.
“I was trying to get him out from behind the till,” David recalled, “but Jay decided he wanted to work at Tesco that day. I was having real difficulty but amazingly the manager, James, came over and opened the till for him.”
“He felt like a worker,” David continued, “and it just warmed my heart to see how focused her [sic] was and how much he was enjoying himself.”
David praised the staffers for taking the time to support his son, allowing Jay the unique experience of mastering the checkout equipment at his favorite store. An otherwise uneventful shopping trip was transformed into a memory, a viral video that circulates to this day, and an affirmation of kindness that David and Jay can treasure.
“Jay really is a ray of sunshine,” David reflected, “and this really highlights that when you show children with special needs a bit of patience and compassion, they return the favor by putting a smile on your face.”