The past few weeks had been stressful for Ashley England, mother of two, and her family. They just wanted to have a nice family dinner outing together, but as they sat down at the pizza restaurant Friday night, her son Riley started making a scene.
“He threw the phone and started screaming,” England said. “Riley was getting loud and hitting the table and I know it was aggravating to some people.”
Her son Riley is non-verbal and has a severe form of epilepsy—where he gets about 100 seizures a day. The seizures started when he was just 18 months old, robbing Riley of the ability to speak, and he has had three major brain surgeries for the condition since.
The condition is frustrating for both the family and especially Riley himself, who gets upset with not being able to express himself, leading to outbursts that create a scene—and create unnecessary animosity toward her son.
People shouldn’t judge, England said. But they do.
So when a waitress hesitantly approached the family’s table during their meal, England braced herself for being told to do something about Riley.
That wasn’t it.
“I’ll try to do this without crying,” the waitress started. “But another customer has paid for your bill tonight and wanted me to give you this note.”
The note read: “God only gives special children to special people.”
“That note is very true, I wouldn’t be able to do it without God by my side,” England told WBTV. “Until a person has walked in the shoes we have walked in—they have no right to say one thing.”
The kind stranger who gave England that note had given her just the encouragement she needed, bringing her to tears.
“Little did he know what struggles we had been facing lately and this was surely needed at that moment,” she said. “Thank you!”
Because the things parents take for granted—she might never get from Riley.
“They take just a simple ‘I love you’ from your child for granted,” she said.
“Because you have never heard that from your son?” asked WBTV’s Brigida Mack.
“Never,” England replied, getting choked up. “Never.”
“To have someone do that small act towards us shows that some people absolutely understand what we are going through and how hard it is to face the public sometimes,” she said.
“They made me cry, blessed me more than they know—I felt like out of all the rude negative comments that we are faced with, these outweighs them. The people who care!”