Andrew LOVES trains. That is a fact that is obvious the moment you meet him, almost as obvious as the fact that he is autistic. For us, this love affair is part of our family experience, it is a daily staple. It is woven in our conversation,our travels and yes our home decor. The love he has for trains however, has brought opportunities and has brought out the kindness of people that is so incredibly heartwarming. Two recent incidents, with regard to trains, have touched our family in such a warm way.
We travel in our RV as often as we can, summer being the longest trips for obvious reasons. This year we had a few trips already so our summer trip was not as far or long. It was however, one of the best we have had.
Part of our trip took us back to Portland and the Oregon Rail Historic Foundation (http://www.orhf.org/), home of Andrew’s favorite train, the 4449. Visiting this museum and seeing his favorite train, was all he talked about for most of our trip. The day came to visit the train and you would have thought it was Christmas. We had been to the museum before so Andrew knew just what he wanted to see. As he walked around, you could see the excitement in his eyes, his love for these big machines just radiating from his every pore.
While speaking with the gentleman in charge that day, I commented about Andrew being autistic- he said he knew- has a son on the spectrum as well. We finished our conversation and then he looked at Andrew and told him to follow him. They walked over to the 4449 train and he told Andrew to go ahead and climb up in the cab, ignoring the please keep off sign, then he called over one of the workers to climb up with him. Here was a sudden kindness to a young boy from a man who could see the thrill this small act provided. The thrill that he was IN the cab of his favorite train, the thrill to “drive” that train-if only for a moment even if it never actually moved. We can’t thank him enough.