If you have a child, you know that trips to public places can sometimes be taxing. Kids have great imaginations — and every so often, they just want to do their own thing.
But if you have a child with a physical, learning or behavioral challenge, excursions like this can be especially demanding. Some people don’t understand, while others are utterly rude and mean-spirited.
Tesco is a British grocery retailer with headquarters in the United Kingdom. And, evidently, at least a few of their team members have hearts made of gold.
Jay Burke can attest to this firsthand. As documented by a video that’s since gone viral, the 10-year-old was recently out shopping at the local Tesco with his father, David Burke.
It was really just a standard run to a store they frequent regularly. But busy supermarkets can sometimes cause distractions for Jay, who has Down syndrome.
According to awareness center Gigi’s Playhouse, over 450,000 individuals with Down syndrome currently reside in the United States alone. The organization says that these kids may experience a variety of cognitive delays, and often face cruel bullying.
As Jay’s father admitted to the Daily Mail, “Shopping with a child with special needs can be really difficult.” Burke, a firefighter, also noted that his son has been blessed with an “incredibly independent” streak.
Accordingly, during that particular Tesco visit, Jay became rather enthralled with the whole checkout process. So he made a beeline for a closed lane and began pretend-scanning a few items on his own.
Burke tried everything he could to coax Jay away from the cash register. But the youngster had already made up his mind: He was an unofficial store employee that day.
That’s when James, the Tesco store manager, glanced over at the pair. He immediately realized the dad and son were in a deadlock.
A lot of store managers might have worried about protecting their equipment in that situation. Others may have simply looked the other way.
But not James. He strolled over, amiably opened the checkout lane, and helped Jay scan his father’s purchases.
Burke told the Daily Mail that he calls Jay “the ultimate icebreaker,” because the boy will cheerfully chat with anyone. But they had never met James before — and now, they’ll never forget him.
The grateful father told BBC News that Jay was “over the moon” when James stepped in so supportively. “He felt like a worker,” Burke said, “and it just warmed my heart to see how focused he was and how much he was enjoying himself.”
Jay’s dad explained that having that level of reassuring encouragement “just takes the pressure off the idea that others are judging you as a parent.” He said he’s occasionally encountered this type of critical appraisal, and “it can be a really hard thing to face.”
But all that mattered on that amazing trip to Tesco was Jay’s face, beaming with joy. As Burke told the Daily Mail, “this really highlights that when you show children with special needs a bit of patience and compassion, they return the favor” by making everyone around them smile, too.
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