The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

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The Mayor of Main Street
The Mayor of Main Street

When one's child is born with a disability, the first days are filled with information about what your child wouldn't be able to do. Thirty years later I am amazed at the things our daughter is really good at doing; far better, in fact, than either of her parents. Each weekday morning our daughter, Carson, gets out of bed at her apartment, looking forward to going to work. She takes a long time to dress, as she is very concerned that her black tee-shirt, pants and jacket be clean and tidy for her day as greeter and package assembler at Sephora. She does not go directly to work, as for many girls who grew up in the 90's, her morning cannot get started without a stop at Starbucks. She walks to Starbucks and greets the Baristas who say to her, "Good morning, Carson. You want the regular?" Carson always replies, "Yes, in a hard cup with ice." Then she sits down and calls around to me, her father, a brother, or a roommate: "Just checking," she says, "to make sure you're OK." Then she is ready to walk the three blocks to work on Main Street. Sometimes when I am running errands on Main Street, I will double park for a minute outside of Sephora if Carson is manning the front door, and I will watch the reaction of customers as they come and go. Carson will hold out a shopping basket and greet them. If they stop to take the basket, Carson will always think of something positive to say about them, "Nice hair. Nice jewelry. I like your shoes." It's always something. Then she will say something nice again when they leave. I love to watch the amount of customers that leave smiling. Carson has added a little bright spot to their day. At three o'clock her work day is over, but Carson still has an important mission to accomplish for the day. She will walk down Main Street and stop into any shop that she thinks needs a visitor. It is not always the same stores, and I have no idea why she picks what stores on any given day. I only know about it because I snoop in her backpack to see what stores she has collected business cards from, or we will be walking together down Main Street and someone I don't know will stop and greet her, sometimes they even exchange a hug. If I ask where they met, I'll hear that Carson regularly stops by their store just to say hello. So it is true that there are things Carson cannot do: manage her money, drive a car, go anywhere in a hurry, or have a conversation of the pros and cons of the present political situation. But she can do some important things that a lot of people are very bad at. That is stopping long enough on a busy work day to relate to others, or giving small compliments to brighten up one's day, or checking around to family and friends every day to be sure everyone is OK. If I had been told 30 years ago that my new baby would spread so much good will, it would have made those difficult first months a little easier. But then, of course, one never knows what each baby's particular gifts will be. We only know that each will have some.

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Kara Corridan, United States, NJ
9/19/2011 11:40:14 AM
This is beautiful. Carson sounds like such a thoughtful person!

Lisa Petersen, United States, IL
7/21/2011 3:09:04 PM
As a teacher of children with special needs, my face and heart light up to hear the blessing your daughter is to you, her family, and her entire community.

Sacha Elliott Joubert, Canada,
7/20/2011 1:11:53 AM
It takes a special person to care enough about other people's feelings to take time to compliment strangers. Well written!

Sheila Los, United States, NY
7/19/2011 9:03:27 PM
It sounds like Carson brings happiness to alot of people!

Barbara Shaughnessy, United States, MA
7/9/2011 10:46:52 PM
Way to go Carson! Keep up the good work. Sounds like you have a loving and supportive family. My sister Kate worked at the grocery store for 19 years...she was just like you...loved to make people feel good. You're a blessing Carson!

Teresa Rose, United States, TX
1/23/2011 1:54:17 PM
"You have an amazing young woman. I cannot wait to my Jordy in the years to come."

Sheri Rossi, United States, MA
10/4/2012 2:59:06 PM
Thanks so much for the story. That alone brightened my day. Keep up the good work :)

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