Tuesday, February 11, 2014



A few mornings a week I see a young man with Down syndrome waiting for the bus out in front of the bookstore on my long-ish walk from the parking garage to my office. This morning on my drive I saw him walking with another young-ish guy who I'm guessing assists him. This morning's temp is -2, instantly I notice he wasn't wearing a hat, a lightweight coat and no gloves, but carrying a travel mug so I assume it had warm coffee or something in it (how I noticed no gloves).... The guy with him was only wearing a hoodie so I imagine he was a lot colder... I felt horrible, he really should of been dressed for the weather, both of them...

I park my car, bundle up with my heavy duty ski gloves, scarf wrapped around my face, fleece lined hat and start my trek up-street. As I make my way closer to the bookstore I see the two guys standing waiting for the bus. My heart breaks, by this point the caretaker has his hands in the pouch pocket of his hoodie and the young man has his hands pulled up into his jacket still clinging to his travel mug. I get closer and I want to take my scarf off and wrap it around him, take my gloves off and put them on his hands. I debate this to my core... I'm sick with anguish, do I? What should I do? I think, will the caretaker get pissed if I do this, like he's not taking care of him (well duh) I get to the young man and he is shivering, cheeks bright red and he looks me straight in the eye. Deep brown eyes, almond shaped eyes, they talk to me but I can't answer, what do I do!? I'm a coward, I kept walking. I keep wanting to turn around, do I? I don't and tears well up in my eyes and I think I'm going to start sobbing... I catch it in my throat and try to save face. I feel horrible, ashamed, I should of protected him. I feel so horrible I want to go find him, but I know he's already on his bus going where he needs go and finally warm. His hands must hurt by now from being so cold, and his cheeks are on fire from exposure. Now, I am haunted by his eyes and I should of stopped and just asked if maybe he wanted my gloves? Was he okay? Did he want to wait in the bookstore until his bus came? I wish I could apologize, say I'm sorry that I didn't do what my heart wanted and my body couldn't execute. I'm sorry beautiful brown eyed stranger, I should of done better....

What would of you done??


  1. Given that my daughter might (just might) dress the same way on a cold day ... as might her so-called typical peers ... and I don't tell her what to wear much anymore (Don't tell me what to do!!!!!!), I'd say that maybe I'd think. Sheeshhhh. Dress appropriately guys! Or, ha! maybe NEXT time you will remember to dress warmly when its cold. I think we need to sometimes reframe how we think of people with disabilities ... not as people needing intervention and support all the time, but as people who might make their own decisions. I am not saying this is right, but just that there are many ways to see the same situation. What made you think the other young man was his support and not a friend or co-worker or acquaintance?

    There is a young man who lives above a coffee shop that my husband and I frequent in the morning just before going to work. He comes down, nicely dressed, to take the bus ... and as the bus stop is just in front of the coffee shop we see him often. He is OFTEN underdressed for the weather, and I often think... oh man ... PUT A WARM COAT ON! if your mother only knew... But this young man has a good job with the government and I know it is none of my business how he chooses to dress (very nicely indeed, just not always warmly). So. Should I say something? Go out and wrap him in a scarf? I so want to. But I don't.

  2. Nan, you are so right. I did assume that the guy with him was helping him and the only reason I did was because they weren't standing together and or conversing. The only reason I knew they were together was because I saw them walking. But they totally could of been brothers for that matter. Thanks for the reply, I did not see the boys this morning and it was even colder!


About Me

My photo
My name is Jackie and I am a mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, cousin to many, and a dreamer of sorts. I dream of many things and one is a life full of acceptance, achievement and success for my Super Hero son Asa. He's got extra good stuff that comes with a little thing called Down syndrome. We live in the beautiful state of New Hampshire with our 2 Bulldogs; Rosie, Frankie and 36 chickens.