Florida Child with Special Needs Receives Very Special Delivery from FedEx
Millions of packages were delivered to families across the globe this holiday season, but none were met with quite as much excitement as the one that arrived at the Leis family's front door in Panama City Beach, Florida, last Wednesday.
The special delivery arrived on New Year's Eve for nine-year-old Sawyer Leis. Sawyer was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism around the age of two. Though he's not conversational, Sawyer has always made sure he communicates one thing loud and clear: his love for FedEx.
"We specifically remember when Sawyer was about four years old he noticed a FedEx package in the trash," mom Brittany told Southern Living. "He dug it back out and just happily admired it. He has had an ongoing interest in the alphabet, so I believe he first was infatuated with looking at the letters on the package—occasionally he would say 'E-X!'"
In the past six months, Brittany said she's begun to use Sawyer's love for FedEx as a tool to help him through ABA therapy. This year, she made Sawyer a FedEx delivery driver Halloween costume and even threw him a FedEx-themed birthday party. She said Sawyer's limited range of interests often makes it difficult him to connect with family, but having FedEx as a go-to subject has helped strengthen those relationships.
"Now that we are aware of his love for FedEx, it has created opportunities to engage with him and receive a genuine and happy response," she said. "He has been making more eye contact and giving us big, big smiles to let us know he is indeed enjoying our time together. He has even been reading aloud, 'FedEx! FedEx!' while giggling and smiling when he is playing with us."
One of Sawyer's favorite activities each day is watching the FedEx delivery truck drive by his house.
"We see Justin driving through our neighborhood in his FedEx truck on a daily basis," Brittany said. "[One day], I was able to roll down our car windows and say hello, and then introduce Sawyer and explain his love for Justin's truck."
Less than a week after Christmas, Sawyer was watching the FedEx truck as usual, when the Leis family received a package they hadn't ordered. It was a backpack filled with FedEx goodies left by none other than Sawyer's favorite delivery driver, Justin. The package included FedEx-themed items including sunglasses, a hat, a shirt, a journal, and highlighters.
"Sawyer is a man of few words and he doesn't excite easily," Brittany said. "When his little eyes caught sight of the FedEx logo on the bag, he quickly but calmly came over and started to inspect it. His eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger as we helped him pull more items out of the bag. He seemed to be in disbelief as his eyes just kept searching over the items again and again. A type of smile came to his eyes and lips that we don't get to see often. He touched all of the items slowly as if to take in the fact that they were all for him."
The family was extremely touched by the gesture and plan to thank Justin in person the next time they see him. Brittany said when she realized what Justin had done for Sawyer, she became emotional thinking about all the thought that went into putting the gift together.
"When a person takes time to show kindness to my wonderful, but also very difficult, son, I am deeply touched," she said. "Most people will never know or understand the day-to-day extreme difficulties we as a family experience with and for Sawyer. To us, Justin's gift was more than a backpack. It was kindness, compassion, and generosity when the first 'Hello, Sawyer!' was already enough."
There's no better way to start off the year than with an act of kindness! Kudos to Justin!