‘That Was Just Me Being Me’
Remember the item I posted the other day, about Jordan Taylor, a young stock clerk at the Rouses supermarket in my neighborhood, who spent 30 minutes allowing an autistic teenager, Jack Ryan Edwards, to help him fill the juice cooler? The kid’s dad filmed it and posted it to Facebook in gratitude for Jordan’s kindness to his son. The clip went viral, and appeared on three national news networks.
Here in Baton Rouge, the CBS affiliate did a couple of pieces on the amazing fallout from Jordan’s act of kindness. In this second one, the station surprised him with a $300 gift from a program they sponsor to reward local folks who do good deeds. Watch the clip; he says he wants to go to college one day and train to be a teacher. In the story, before he knows he’s getting money, that sweet young man is fighting back tears, talking about why he helped the autistic boy: “That was just me being me.”
I defy you — well, not you, Uncle Chuckie — to watch that clip without getting tears in your eyes, too, over the goodness of that young man, Jordan Taylor. It turns out that the Rouse family member who oversees that particular store has autism in her family too, and was especially moved by her employee’s kindness. Jack Ryan’s sister, Delaney Edwards Alwosaibi, showed her gratitude by starting a Go Fund Me to pay for Jordan’s college education, so he can become a teacher. See both Delaney and Jordan above.
Can you imagine having a man so compassionate teaching your children. Make it happen for Jordan, and make it happen for the kids he will one day teach! The Go Fund Me is already at over $100,000. Everybody’s giving. If you’d like to help Send Jordan From Rouses To School, you know what to do. If your family has been touched by autism, as mine has, I urge you to give.
UPDATE: I was just in that Rouses doing some grocery shopping. My cashier was a young black woman. I bring up her race for a reason I’ll explain in a second.
We talked about the media furor over Jordan Taylor, and how he’s been trying to do his job this week, but everybody who comes in the store wants to meet him. “My mom says there’s a Go Fund Me for him,” she said to me.
There is, I said — and it’s got over $100,000 in gifts so far, to help him pay for his college education. Her eyes got big. She said that she attends Southern University here in Baton Rouge, and she’s got a $2,000 bill already, even before classes start. I told her that our oldest is about to start LSU, and even though he’s got scholarship help, college is expensive.
She talked about what a blessing all this is for Jordan. I told her that it’s so good to see a kind person being recognized and rewarded for doing good.
“You just never know,” she said. “If you be a blessing to other people, the blessing is going to come to you, one way or the other. We just have to be a blessing.”
I told her that this is what inspires me so much about the Jordan Taylor story: that he had no way of knowing that his act of simple kindness to a teenage boy with autism would give him this kind of reward. Most of us will have to wait for our reward in heaven, so it’s wonderful to see goodness being rewarded here in this life.
I had to walk on, because she had another customer behind me. What does this have to do with race? It’s a cultural thing. One of the best things about living here in Baton Rouge, and in the South, is that you can have conversations like this with anybody in a store — but black Christians are especially eager to speak openly about faith, and how their faith guides them. It’s the most natural thing in the world. We have a world of problems to deal with here, racial and otherwise, but little daily conversations like that, which I have a lot more often with black Christians than with other white Christians, is one of the blessings about living here.
I wonder if I should start a Go Fund Me to pay for Destiny’s fall semester at Southern — this, just out of gratitude for her being a voice of kindness and encouragement to her customers at Rouses. What do you think?