This is a story of $100. But a little background first.
As most of you know, Tracie started her career as a Special Education Teacher. She has a special love for kids on the spectrum. Autism. I worked with a group called Project Lifesaver while I was a police officer, placing me in direct contact with kids and adults with special needs. This in turn brought a love and understanding for kids on the spectrum.
I also have a close friend with a child on the spectrum and I have watched him vicariously, grow up through my friends eyes. I have watched this child, who was probably the most genius of any kid I have ever seen and funny. Funny beyond words. I fell in love with this child, having only met him once or twice, while he was still in the 3 – 4 year old range. But I love him and his family so much.
In 2014 or 2015, several consumers purchased products from a company I worked for.
This of course helps to provide me with compensation for the services I provided that company. In the form of my paycheck.
In about 2015 or so, an acquaintance fell on some rough times. Divorce, custody of a child, household move to his home state but a state he had not been in for a while. He needed a job, housing, transportation. All the basic needs. A fund was set up for his friends and family to help him out. I did what I could. I sent him $100. Barely enough to buy groceries but something.
Fast forward to 2018. Tracie has signed up to run a 10K race and a 1/2 marathon at Disney World in Orlando Florida. She has decided to run FOR Autism Speaks, raising money for them in the process.
EDIT: This link was NOT placed here to encourage donations! This link was placed here so that folks realized this is not a “new thing”. It is simply a narrative on human nature.
Numerous friends have donated toward the fundraiser. Some with kids on the Autism Spectrum. It’s an awesome thing all the way around.
At the end of April, I was contacted by my acquaintance mentioned above. He wanted to stop by the house and chat for a few moments. He stopped by about 6:00PM or so. We chatted about everything and anything. Finally, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a $100 bill and hands it to me. I was completely confused.
He related the story above. He was that acquaintance. He related that I had given him $100 when he was down, and he was now in a place in his life where he could repay it. I of course told him no, that was not why I helped and refused. He insisted. I accepted the money hesitantly.
Also at the end of April, I received the most gut wrenching message from my friend with her child on the spectrum. I received a private message first, this is the public message she posted:
This morning Kyle took his own life. We are heartbroken and were totally caught off guard. Kyle left a suicide letter telling us that he no longer wanted to live in such a cruel world. Ronnie, Coltin, mom and me tried to protect him, but as he got older he saw what the REAL world was like. I love you forever my dear baby boy. I am completely broken!!
I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do. And truthfully, there is nothing I can do. Nothing to say. I simply told her I loved her and her family and I was here.
Tracie told me that she would like to donate that $100 to Autism Speaks in the name of our friend Kyle M. Early. And she will run in November and the Disney Wine and Dine 10K and Half Marathon in Kyle’s memory. She will have Kyle’s name on her running shirt as well.
The best thing in the world that we can do for someone that is no longer here, is to promise them and their family, that we will never forget them. And to Tammy, Ronnie, and Coltin, I promise you, WE promise you, we will never forget Kyle.