Louisiana Grocery Store Worker Befriends Teen With Autism, Kindly Shows Him How to Stock Shelves
A simple act of kindness to a teen with autism made the young man's day.
At 17, Jack Ryan Edwards doesn't talk much. His attention span is extremely short. His senses are easily overloaded doing what others consider mundane — going to the grocery store, for example.
"He needs help and prompting with everything," said his sister, Delaney Edwards Alwosaibi, of her brother with autism. Sometimes people look askance at the teen, with pity or fear in their eyes, she added.
But on a recent trip to a local supermarket in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the young man looked at a stock clerk loading orange juice into a refrigerated case and saw pure beauty.
His father, Sid Edwards, thought Jack Ryan wanted juice. But that wasn't it. He wanted to pick up the plastic container and place it on a shelf.
Employee Jordan Taylor, 20, read Jack Ryan's look. "Do you want to help me?" he asked the young man. Oh yes indeed, Jack Ryan did.
As Taylor handed each bottle to Jack Ryan, the teen carefully placed it in the cooler. His father was so taken with his son's deliberate concentration he pulled out his cellphone and started filming. He called it "a miracle" that his boy was so enthralled with something that he kept after it.
In all, Taylor spent about 30 minutes with the teenager, an unheard of amount of time for anything to captivate Jack Ryan, his family said.
Sid Edwards sent the video to his daughter, who put it on her Facebook page, where it's been viewed 15,000 times and shared by more than 8,000 users.
After watching it many, many times, Alwosaibi said, she cried for hours. Her heart was full not only for her little brother, but for the simple kindness of a stranger who broke open Jack Ryan's world with a single question.
"I have no idea what experience this young man has with people with disabilities," she told InsideEdition.com. "He was so patient and kind with him. Jordan was prompting him, telling him where to put" the containers.
Alwosaibi is a special education teacher, just like her mother. Her dad is a football coach at the local high school, where his wife works and which Jack Ryan attends. They have another son with autism.
"Between my brothers and my students, I know they're employable," Alwosaibi said of people with special needs. Jack Ryan is meticulous and detail-oriented, she said. "That's what stocking is all about — presentation."
Two wondrous things have come from Jordan letting Jack Ryan help him. The folks at Rouse's grocery store have offered Jack Ryan a job. And a GoFundMe site established by Alwosaibi to help Jordan realize his goal of going to college has raised more than $59,000 in one day.
"It's unbelievable," Alwosaibi said. Jordan told a local station the looks on the faces of father and son were payment enough.
"If you would have flipped the camera, you would have seen his dad's face. It said it all. He was just happy and he [Jack Ryan] was happy putting the juices up and I was just happy that I could make someone else happy and make their day," Jordan told WAFB-TV.
The Edwards family has not decided whether Jack Ryan should take the job. School starts soon. But there is no question about their gratitude to the man who noticed their boy.
"Jordan was brave that day," said Alwosaibi. "It was brave for him to say, 'Do you want to help me?'''
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