Teenager with autism surprised with Wienermobile ride
I know Halloween is past, but I saw a pretty cool story about the mom of an autistic young man and the Halloween surprise he got. First, a little background: After they go through puberty, many youngsters with autism have the appearance of adulthood without the emotional or intellectual maturity that might be expected.
What does this have to do with Halloween? Teenagers with autism might still have the emotional attachment to trick or treating that a younger child would have. Also, for a lot of parents, it takes years of coaching and practicing to even get an autistic child to wear a costume and approach a stranger to ask for candy. As detailed in the Asbury Park Press, one such parent, Eileen Shaklee, addressed that issue on her Facebook page, which is devoted teens and adults with disabilities and their parents.
She asked people to be understanding of these people with special needs and not quickly dismiss such teenagers to be “too old” to go trick or treating and just go ahead and give them candy. In her post she showed a picture of her 16 year old son, George, dressed in his costume, a hot dog. Well, someone associated with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile saw the post and started things in motion.
On Sunday morning, much to George’s astonishment and delight, the Wienermobile came to his house in Wall. George even got to ride in it! The Wienermobile is staffed by “Hotdoggers” and one of them told the Asbury Park Press "The mission of the Hotdogger program is to drive miles of smiles all along the hot dog highways." Cold Cuts Chloe said in an email, "When we saw that a hot dog fan was in need of an exciting Halloween, we thought our hot dog hot rod could do just the trick (or treat)!" What a wonderful thing to do for that young man; he’ll remember it the rest of his life. I thought that story was the perfect postscript to Halloween.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.