Santa in Leather: A Heartwarming Elevator Encounter


Let me set the scene for you…

My husband and I and two of our boys plus baby get on the elevator.

We are loud and busy.

Our youngest is trying to push all the buttons. I am using my hip to block him.

Cooper, our 12-year-old is autistic and adores elevators. So he is happy flapping and dancing and making lots of noises.

Just as the door is about to close to bring us to the second floor of the hotel my husband yells out…‘I’ll hold the door for you!’

And a big, burley, man hops on. He’s wearing leather from head to toe and even though his hands are full I can see the Harley Davidson logo on his chest.

A long white beard completes the look. He’s gruff-looking, I suppose. Rough. Tough. Big. Stoic.

In my mind I’m cursing my polite husband for inviting this person into our chaos.

We are a traveling circus.

Once the man enters I see my son Cooper’s face light up like a Christmas tree.

And the biggest smile spreads across his face.

I instantly know what’s coming and I hold my breath. I see my husband do the same.

We know.

Cooper takes two steps towards the man and reaches his hand up and runs it through his white beard.

And a belly laugh erupts from Cooper and he claps and demands a high five from the man.

I wait.

My husband waits.

Cooper waits…hand held outright waiting. Hanging as they say.

And the big, tall, man dressed in black leather smiles the biggest smile and gives a high five to the yellow haired boy without words.

Jamie and I exhale. And smile. And introduce Cooper. And autism.

Once off the elevator Cooper taps my shoulder to get my attention. And shows me his iPad.

Santa Claus dances across the screen.

Cooper points to the elevator and waves goodbye. And giggles. His face saying it all.

He met the big guy. In an elevator.

And off he dances toward our room.

We are very much working on personal space and boundaries but it’s a work in progress as they say.

What I do know is if Cooper pays attention to you…it’s a gift. And you are lucky.

My son thought he met Santa. Maybe it was Santa. Who knows? He sure was a nice man either way.

I adore kindness. And grace. Two amazing traits in this world.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook.
Avatar photo

Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

Share this post: