I love to travel it affords you so many amazing expierences such as getting to see new and unique places and meet people, you otherwise may not get to. I love to travel for both business and pleasure and this past trip to Chicago was one that was for both! This is always my favorite type. I have traveled to many states as well as Internationally and every time I come away with an expierence that I won’t forget.
This trip was no different except I came away with several amazing expierences. As I discussed in an earlier blog this trip was thrown together at the last minute which is always stressful and making sure Peyton is prepped and ready to go adds to that.
The first night we stayed at the Hyatt Place in Memphis and they were so sweet and helpful. I was tired, Mark wasn’t feeling well and Peyton was coming down with a cold. Having a front desk be helpful, welcoming and understanding just helps the evening be that much more relaxing. Just going that extra bit to make us feel welcomed was great!
Our second day we decided to stop in New Madrid Missouri as that was the site of the largest recorded earthquake on American mainland. We decided to visit the historical museum, it was so welcoming. Loved the small town feel and warmth of the people. It also was very informative. The gentleman that runs it was very engaging, not only answering our questions and allowing us to explore, but he treated us like they truly appreciated our business. To often places have lost their personal touch, acting as if they are doing you a favor by allowing you to visit their place of business. If we had more time, I would have loved to spend the whole day there! I highly suggest if you go through this area you stop in, it’s well worth your time!
Our next stop was Chicago! We had a room reserved at the Hyatt Regency O’ Hare, it’s a beautiful hotel. I was hoping to get a suite upgrade but was told when I made my reservation that it was full because of a convention, so it was doubtful we could get our free upgrade. I went in to check in and was greeted by a very sweet and helpful front desk host, Coleen. I told her we had been traveling and we’re looking forward to relaxing. We began to talk, I told her we were traveling with our Autistic son and was hoping to get a suite, if that was possible. Just as she and I were discussing, Mark and Peyton came inside. Coleen looked at Peyton and said, is this your son? I said yes, she smiled at him and said hello he got a huge smile on his face. Coleen then went the extra mile and said I am going to upgrade to a large suite and it is in a quiet area of the hotel. It was a great surprise, Peyton not only had his own area of the suite but a very nice work area for him to do his schoolwork. Coleen clearly understood the plight of traveling with an autistic child, she made sure that although the hotel was crowded and noisy, we had a quiet, safe and very comfortable room. She had an extra blanket and pillow sent up to the room as well. Peyton loves having several pillows and this meant a lot to him. Her care and understanding went a long way in making all of our stay amazing. The awesomism didn’t stop there, all the people who worked in the Regency Club were equally as awesome, they treated Peyton like he was their friend. He feels self conscious whenever we go places and the fact that they made him feel so at home and accepted,warmed my heart in a way I can’t put into words. Luciano, who worked in the evening, shared with us that his daughter is special needs. Peyton opened up to him and really felt at ease talking with him. I have often told people that I feel many times one of the hardest parts for him is he knows he is Autistic. He realizes he is different and tries so hard to fit it. When people treat him with respect and understand his verbal skills may be limited, but he has so much to offer, it makes such a positive impact. Our last night was made even more amazing when the front desk manager, Shane, put us in the Presidential suite for the evening! Our stay at Hyatt Regency O’Hare could not have been better, it was one of awesomism at its best. I truly can not say enough positive things about the staff and their caring and understanding! When a Hotel staff understands the expierence of travel with an Autistic Child, it makes travel something you look forward to and not fear.
On our way home we stopped in Texarkana at a Chik-fil-a. We sat down in a booth across from a young family. The Mom was holding a very young baby, I commented on how sweet and adorable the baby was. We began to chat, she told me her daughter has Down syndrome and was born premature. I asked her if it was her first, she said no she has a son as well. He was in the play area and at that moment came running up. The mother then told me her son is autistic, I shared with her that Peyton was too. We discussed this for a bit, and as we were talking her husband got up to get something, I noticed he had an artificial limb, she then told me he was in Iraq and had been seriously injured. I truly was and am in awe of her. She had such a positive attitude, clearly she struggles with more than most, yet she was so thankful for everything she has. Too often I hear people complain over the smallest of issues, many of which could be fixed with some initiative. This woman was handed many tough cards, yet to her she had an amazing life. 2 beautiful kids, her husband came home alive and the struggles she faced were there to make her stronger. She touched me in a way that so few do, and I will never forget that expierence.
This is why I love to travel, life lessons and amazing expierence can be just around the corner. I want to thank everyone who made that trip as awesome as it was. Too often we get so caught up in the negatives of life, we forget to recognize the positives. I also hope we all try to make others’ days a little better by doing even the smallest of actions, you never know how what impact it may make.