Man with Autism Becomes Community’s Unofficial Greeter by Smiling and Waving at Passersby

John Carson is a young man with autism and a passion for greeting drivers as they speed by his home. He loves to walk down the hill behind his Minnesota home and smile and wave at all the cars as they pass by.

John’s mom, Roz Carson, says the obsession started a few years ago when John’s dad taught him how to pump his fist in the air to get the attention of passing semi-trucks during a family trip to Illinois. Now John has made it his business to grab the attention of everyone who passes his house.

Photo: FOX 9 KMSP

John’s goal is always to get honks and revved engines from passersby. He yells “Light ’em up!” to people in trucks and pumps his fist at semis, hoping for a honk.

Photo: FOX 9 KMSP

“He’s kind of known by lots of the people as Ambassador of Lonsdale,” says Roz.

John often spends his lunch break, after-school time, and weekends down by the road.

Photo: FOX 9 KMSP

“I think it gives him a feeling of, ‘I brighten their day, and a little attention'” says Roz. She knows John loves to make other people happy.

Because of this passion, John now has a reflective vest for safety and a mat to stand on so that he doesn’t venture too close to the road. He participates in his favorite activity all year round, even in the snow.

Photo: FOX 9 KMSP

The people who live in Lonsdale or drive through on a regular basis love John and consider him the unofficial greeter for their community. Last year, in honor of John’s 20th birthday, more than 400 cars participated in a drive-by parade, honking all the way, to wish John a happy birthday. He was, of course, elated.

Photo: FOX 9 KMSP

Roz says the locals never seem to tire of making John’s day by honking. “I’m overwhelmed. I can’t believe people, after so many years, are still honking,” she says.

Photo: FOX 9 KMSP

For her part, Roz says, she’s just happy that her son is doing something that makes him and other people happy instead of taking part in some of the riskier behaviors and getting in trouble like young people often do.

Thank you, John, for taking the time to make the people in your community smile!

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