I was away on shoot when Walker had his first day of high school. It was a half day walk through for rising 9th graders, to see the school, walk the halls and get a leg up on the routine that starts in earnest next week after Labor Day. So I wasn't there at the bus stop to see him off and witness how he started his day. It wasn't until two strangers knocked on the door that evening around 10pm that the story emerged. Mike and Robin Katz introduced themselves and handed me a bag with cookies and letter. They said their son Joey was also at the bus stop that morning, nervously awaiting his own first day at high school. Challenged by autism, he was facing a new school in a new town. Walker had picked up on this, and befriended Joey on this their first day of high school. After walking them to the street and hearing them tell me what a great kid we had, I returned to hear my son reread the letter to a teary mother. What a great way to start the year. Here's the letter.
Moving from Ohio to Virginia was huge leap of faith for our family. Robin grew up here, but when she was just four years older than you are now; she moved to Ohio and has only returned to the area for visits. Michael and Joey have lived in Ohio their entire lives!
As I’m sure you know, parents always want the best for their children and they try to shield them from pain while giving them the freedom they need to grow and experience life themselves. Joey is our youngest and this morning faced going to a new school in a new city, without knowing a single person. As his parents, we were concerned about this, and walked to the bus this morning with Joey with heavy hearts.
Our walk home from the bus stop this morning (and again in the afternoon) was much different. Our hearts were full with joy and optimism. This was because we met you. You are a wonderful young man. You appear confident and your actions show great compassion for others. You brought more sunshine into our lives in one day than you could ever imagine. Surely your parents are proud of the young man you have become.
We have enclosed some sweet treats for you and your family. These cookies were made by a company in our former hometown. Again, we thank you for your kindness and look forward to seeing you and your family in the days ahead. We are leaving town early Thursday and will not return until late the night before school starts. Enjoy the rest of your summer and we will see you at the bus stop!