— -- A Washington mom, floored by an anonymous gesture, felt compelled to share the act on Facebook, after an unknown woman picked up her tab at a restaurant and left a sweet note behind.
Nordberg, 35, said she often gets stares from strangers just as she did yesterday when her son Elliot, 6, who has Asperger's, had a "meltdown" during a meal at a diner near their home.
"No one wants people to see their child have a meltdown, especially in public," Lauren Nordberg of Bainbridge Island, Washington told ABC News. "I've been told control your child, give him a spanking.…Most people think he's just behaving badly, but really, he's having a hard time and can't express it any other way. Instead of getting a mean look, I got support and a wonderful note that I'm keeping in my wallet and don’t plan on throwing away."
Nordberg said on Jan. 18, she took Elliot to his favorite restaurant for pancakes as a reward for having a successful visit at the dentist.
"It was just me and my son, we had just gone to the dentist and if you don’t already (know), the dentist is a really big deal for kids on the spectrum," Nordberg said. "One of the things about autism is they love routine. He expects that when we go in he will sit at his favorite table and would know some of the waitresses."
Nordberg said the anxiety from the dental appointment combined with an unexpected crowd at the restaurant caused Elliot to have "one or his moments."
"He had a meltdown," she said. "It's not a tantrum. It's not going to go away...he's yelling, he's screaming, he's really upset [and] people start giving us looks."
Nordberg said while she took Elliot outside to calm him down, the owner of the Diner in Bainbridge Island told her that another patron paid her check.
The stranger also left a note for Nordberg reading: Have a great day! You are doing a wonderful job! God Bless from a mother who knows.
Nordberg posted it onto her community Facebook page in an effort to express her gratitude to the fellow diner that made her day.
"From the absolute bottom of my heart, I would thank her because someone who's used to getting stares, snarky looks and snarky comments, whether or not they know I can hear them or not, I fully expect that behavior," Nordberg said. "I do not expect someone to buy my lunch. That’s why I wanted to post because all too often, we don't get understanding and we don’t get shown compassion."