Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Gift of Humanity

Our thirty-three years of living an unconventional life full of challenges has brought out some of the very best qualities in others that we have come in contact with. Of course, we’ve seen a few unkind people, but the vast majority of people have gone out of their way to show us unrelenting kindness. I tend to focus on the good stuff (in case you hadn’t noticed).

I could share endless examples of unexpected kindnesses; from the incredible people at the timeshare we love to frequent in Cancun; to strangers who anonymously pay for our sons’ meals at Chili’s when they're with one of their providers; to the lady at the bookstore who saw the love of a certain book in Joe’s eyes and offered it to him for free. Angels, as I call them, seem to follow us around. This past Friday was no exception!

Chris and I had been corresponding with a local hotel in downtown Denver as a prospective site for an upcoming event. I had emailed back and forth with her for some time in an effort to set a date when Chris and I could go see the venue. We were having some difficulty due to the fact that she worked 8-5 Monday thru Friday, and we hoped to visit during our monthly date night on a Friday after 5. So, after going back and forth, I finally decided to call her. There had not been an opportunity for me to share any intimate details of our life and what precipitated our need for a specific time or date, so I shared the fact that we have 2 adult sons with special needs and we needed to meet on an evening when we could have someone stay with them.

There was a moment of silence after which she said, “What if we comp’d you two adjoining (we need connecting rooms at all times) rooms at our hotel on a Friday of your choice, and you both could meet with me and my Supervisor and see the venue?”

Of course, I was floored by her offer and we accepted at a date 3 weeks in the future. That date was last Friday.

We arrived at the front of the hotel’s valet parking where we saw 2 ladies standing at the entrance of the hotel. I was driving so I exited the car first. Jake, on my side, also got out of the car quickly (he’s always excited to be at a “tel”), followed by Chris and Joe. 

One of the ladies called out, “You must be the Rogers family!”
I replied, “Yes we are!”
“Welcome!” she said

Jake was leading the pack toward the entrance, and she said, “Hi, Jake!”

Observing the bag he was carrying (because he’s always carrying some kind of bag), she added, “Do you have Mister Rogers in your bag?”
Stunned, I asked, “How did you know about Mister Rogers?”
“I know lots of things about The Rogers Family”, she said.

By now, the guys were 10 strides ahead of Chris and I headed to the main desk, so we picked up our pace and hurried inside.

As we arrived at the desk, the staff also welcomed us by name with the utmost enthusiasm. We greeted in turn and smiled. Before we could even present our credit card, they offered Chris and I a small box labeled, “French Macarons”. I carefully lifted the lid, exposing one dozen little round cookies decorated to look like orange basketballs! Inside was a small paper-like note (edible) that said, “I saw you in Mrs. Johnson’s class and wondered if you’d like to give me a call sometime?—Cindi  There was also a second note with these same words translated into French!

After Chris and I read these words together, we looked up at each other. Shocked into silence, I somehow managed to say to the group of people around us, “You must have read my blog!”

“No.” she said. “We all read your book!”  Becoming Mrs. Rogers (for those of you who haven't read it)
“You, what?” I said. “No way! That’s amazing!”

By now the guys were more than ready to get to the room, so, of course, I forgot to ask how, why, what?! As we rode the elevator up, Chris and I felt slightly stalked.

We get to our adjoining rooms, enter on our side first, and immediately see a card with our names on it on a desk just past the entryway. Chris opens it, and we read together. We were flabbergasted! We could not believe that someone would take the time to learn so much about our life and our family. They had followed the playbook precisely as written in my memoir.

After a couple of minutes of getting everyone and everything into the room, we see another card on the boys’ room desk. Our look of shock and surprise continues.


We loaded the Mister Rogers dvd into the player and got them occupied. 

A few minutes later, we hear a soft tap on the door and Chris answers it. A Room Attendant enters and sets down a large tray on the table in the room. We thank him, hand him a tip as he exits, look questioningly at each other and gaze at the incredible tray. They've read every exciting part of our life and recorded it into sweet treats!


At this point, we are overwhelmed by the immense interest that these strangers have invested in learning about our daily life, our life-blood, our world. Yes, they were trying to earn our business, but there was no requirement for them to take this kind of dedicated interest in our family.

Four O’clock rolled around and it was time for us to head downstairs to meet with the people who would show us the venue and chat with us about the details. The boys could not have been more excited to finally get to ride the elevators once again. 

We reached the second floor and followed our hostesses to the ballroom. They introduced us to another person who was in charge of the meeting/event rooms and they led us to a table where the guys could sit while we chatted. As we approached the table, it was clear that there, again was another surprise from our past. 

Chris and I laughed out loud at the sheer attention-to-detail, and on-point progression of our love story from way back in 1977. We needed a moment to just soak it all in and appreciate that someone took the time to honor US. We spend so much time focusing on Jake and Joe (rightfully so), that sometimes we forget how our life began. Then, along came some astonishingly kind people to remind us how it all started.

After a few minutes of just talking through our monumental gratitude, Chris and I tried to absorb the kindnesses. We had never in our lives experienced such an intense commitment to us…..to our family….to others learning about what we share every day. These strangers had no connection to Fragile X, but they somehow decided to take their time to glimpse inside the life of our family. 

It doesn’t take something this monumental to remind us that there is so much good in humanity….but it sure doesn’t hurt! We are eternally grateful.

I am constantly reminded that, even though there are hard parts to this life of challenges, it’s important to focus on the good stuff.

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
― Fred Rogers



  1. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving couple! ❤️