When a young woman had a meltdown in a crowded Clarks shoe store due to sensory overload, one individual came to the rescue and knew just what to do to make her feel better.
18-year-old clerk Jacob Tayler asked the girl’s mother if she needed help and then proceeded to sit on the floor next to the girl. Nobody told him she had autism, but the young man’s training and compassion from his work with a children’s charity enabled him to do the right things to help his client.
“I just went over and asked if I could be of help. She said, ‘Yes, please,'” recalls Jacob. “I did my best to help her. I’m trained to work with people with autism and disabilities, so I told her not to worry, saying I would stay with her and she wouldn’t have to wait a while. I know how traumatic it can be for people with autism in a busy place.”
Jacob proceeded to find out what type of shoes the girl needed and her size and quickly went to find some pairs of shoes for her to try on. He even helped her put them on her feet and explained the whole process as he went along—right there on the floor of the store.
“He gently tried shoes on her and explained to her why they would feel different and in time they would soon feel OK,” the girl’s mom, Dawn Brown, wrote in an email to the Clarks store in Bicester, England. “He sat patiently while she cried … He didn’t once make us feel like we were taking too long or being a nuisance.”
After the fact, Dawn wrote to Clarks to tell them the amazing thing their employee had done. Clarks then presented the store with a “celebration alert” to let Jacob’s boss and colleagues know about the amazing difference he made for one family.
“We’re so pleased to see Jacob’s great customer service being recognized,” a Clarks spokesperson said. “All our store colleagues are trained in providing first class service to all consumers, and we are particularly proud that we are able to create a comfortable shopping environment for those on the autistic spectrum. We have provided quiet hours in our stores for some time, and in 2019, will be implementing a quiet hour in the majority of our stores every day. Clarks recognizes and celebrates individuality and we are proud to see our company values being so well expressed by store colleagues.”
Jacob’s father later tweeted a photo of the award, stating that he was “ridiculously proud” of his son. It didn’t take long for the Twitter post to go viral. Everyone involved has been surprised by how the post has taken off, and Dawn says she’s looking forward to getting Jacob’s autograph the next time they’re in the store to buy shoes.
“Teens today are given bad press, not enough praise. I am so so happy that Jacob got this recognition, he totally deserves this,” Dawn commented on the post. “Most people only email/phone to complain these days. I like to go the other way and spread the praise and recognition.”
Jacob plans to spend some time abroad helping children with disabilities before becoming a firefighter.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?