Have a seat. This is a long story
  1. I work in Special Ed, at the time I worked at an elementary school.
    I'm now at a middle school.
  2. I worked with a 4th grade boy named Bob who has autism.
    Bob is not his real name.
  3. Bob was seriously obsessed with toilets. Drawing them, using them, repeatedly flushing then.
    When I say repeatedly, I mean very many times in a row, laughing every time.
  4. He talked regularly of the times that their bathroom at home had flooded. His mom told me this had happened multiple times because he put stuff in the toilet, flushed, and the toilet had overflowed. He was overjoyed each time.
    Ahhh, autism.
  5. Bob was not the most likable kid you've ever met, but for some reason he and I really connected. He liked me.
    And Bob didn't really like anyone.
  6. Bob had two older sisters, one 7th grade, one 10th grade.
  7. The 10th grade sister was in a band class with my daughter at the high school.
  8. After a concert one night I was waiting for my daughter in the band room, to take her home.
  9. Bob was there! With his family.
    Two sisters and Mom. Dad was out of the picture.
  10. Bob said that he needed to go to the bathroom, as did the 7th grade sister.
  11. Mom didn't want to take them because she didn't know where bathrooms were at the high school, so I said I could show them where they were.
  12. So the three of us head off through the halls, the sister talking non-stop. Seriously, every thought in her head came out her mouth.
    She was fun, though, so it was okay.
  13. We make it to the restrooms and I reminded Bob that he only gets to flush the toilet he uses, and only once. They both head in to their perspective restrooms and I wait in the hall.
  14. The sister comes out and is still talking like crazy. After hearing about the fifth flush from the men's room I poked my head in and said "Bob. No more flushing."
  15. The girl says "Bob's kind of obsessed with toilets." I said "Yeah, I know. He loves them."
  16. She says "Bob's weird. He has autism."
  17. I replied "I know. But he's still a fun guy. He's funny. I like Bob."
  18. Long pause.
  19. She asks "So....do you really like Bob? Or just, like, because you work with him?"
  20. I said "No. I really like him. He cracks me up."
  21. No more talking the whole way back through the halls and to the band room.
  22. Possibly the longest silence of her life.
  23. We find their mom and she thanks me for helping and we all walk outside, having finally rounded up my daughter and Bob's older sister.
  24. When we got to their car I said goodby to the family and they piled into their car, the 7th grader last.
  25. Just before shutting the door, she paused, and looked at me.
  26. Then she jumped out and raced over, slamming into me, hugging me super tightly, for a long time.
  27. She didn't say a word, but jumped back into the car and I could see that she was crying, but smiling.
  28. I don't think anyone had ever told her that they liked her little brother before.
  29. This is why I love my job.