He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.

This is James, and this is our story.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The VIP Treatment

I heard him running while I was in the shower. It was 6 am.  He was sprinting from room to room. Using all available space in our upstairs to get himself regulated for the day.

The thing is, he had NO idea what the day was to offer. He thought we were going to the Herb Chambers Cars and Coffee event to see some fancy cars. But a lot happened since the last event that was going to make this day a bit different.

I had written this post about James' love of cars and I mentioned the events, so I shared it with  Herb's C&C facebook page. I didn't expect anything, I just thought they'd like to hear that people liked their events.

Someone named Tylden Dowell shared the post on his own wall and mentioned that it would be great if Herb met James. I laughed to Tony about it, and then found out that Tylden is the Social Media Director for The Herb Chambers Companies (which I'm seriously sure would be James' dream job. It includes visiting their various dealerships and sharing photos of the cars on social media sites. How incredibly cool is that?)

And Tylden turned out to be a great guy in addition to having a sweet job. He liked James story, and shared it with his team. Then he connected with me personally and said he wanted to do something more.

And he did much more. I got an email from the Director of Training and Marketing, John Covell. Ty and a number of other people were cc'ed on the email, including Herb Chambers. Note, if you grew up around CT or MA like I did, Herb Chambers was a household name your entire life. Anytime there was talk of a new car, Herb Chambers name was mentioned. So when I leased my first car when I was in my early 20s, I went to Herb Chambers. Then I leased two more from him. So to get an email with him copied on it is kind of a big deal. I tried to keep cool though, like I'm used to this sort of thing...

John said in the email that he and Herb had been reading my blog (!) and they thought it was fantastic that James had a love of cars and it was helping his social skills. THEN, he said they wanted to "do something special for James" at the next Cars and Coffee event.

And they certainly did.

John couldn't have been nicer to all of us. He was generous with his time, and made sure everyone there knew that James was his special guest. Thankfully he was very subtle about everything and didn't put any pressure on James. I was nervous it would be over the top and James would shut down.

Johnny made himself at home in the amazing tricked out video game van. For three hours. He played every game they had, lounged in the van and chatted with the guys from Games2U.

Johnny making himself at home

James checked out all the cars, loving every second of it. I'd never been to one of the events before, so I was as excited as he was. There were amazing cars everywhere you turned. As soon as I saw one that I thought was the coolest, another would drive in to the lot.

James was beside himself. Each time a new car would pull in, he'd scream the name of the car and run over to it. I just watched, amazed at how well he knows each one and how genuinely excited he was to see every single one. It was like Santa arrived with a bottomless sack of gifts for him.

He can't help himself from scanning Rte 1 for MORE fancy cars.
He must see one because he is flapping ;)
Herb arranged for James, Johnny and their friend to get gifts of die-cast model cars, and James of course chose the Bugatti. And then he got something extra, extra special. The "please do not sit inside" sign was removed from Herb's one of a kind Mercedes McLaren SLR, and James got to do what everyone else at the event wanted.
Meanwhile, Tony and I were panicking that he didn't get all the powder off his hands from the donut he just finished,
or that he accidently stepped in something we didn't know about...
Johnny has already told me he wants the Games2U van at his next birthday party, and I feel like I might have to invite the guys anyway since they completely bonded yesterday.

James announced that the events keep getting better each time, and made us promise to attend the next Cars and Coffee as he stepped into the car. And he's been wondering if Herb is going to show up with a Pagani at the next one.

I can't thank Herb, John, and Ty enough for reaching out to us and making this such a special day for all of us, and the entire staff at Herb Chambers and the Games2Us guys for such a great event. Ty could have just hit the "like" botton and gone on with his day. Instead he started a chain of events that made the day an unforgettable one for my family.

Interactions like this make me realize that we have allies and support in places we never knew we did, and families like ours can feel better knowing there are people everywhere willing to step up and do something special. We just need to tell them our stories.

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