an unlikely love letter

Mr Steve Jobs

Apple Headquarters

Cupertino, CA

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Dear Mr Jobs,

My name is Jess and I have something that I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while now.

I think I love you.

Now, I know you probably get a lot of this – crazed fans writing in to tell you that you’ve altered the world through technology. I can’t argue with them. What you have done to shove us all headlong into the information age has been nothing short of revolutionary. Your leadership and innovation have changed the way we view – well, just about everything we do. Guttenberg had nothing on you, sir.

Oh, and taking just $1 in yearly compensation EVERY YEAR since your return to the company in ’97? Classy move, my friend. Classy move. And handing well over 3,000 percent return to investors during your tenure without selling a share of stock? Be still my heart.

You’re my husband’s hero. As such, you’d think this letter would have come from him. He’s Mac-obsessed. If it has a little ‘i’ in front of it he either has it, wants it, or is waiting for the next generation of it. I’ve caught him caressing his iPhone when he thinks no one’s looking. OK, I made that up – but Steve – is it OK if I call you Steve? I mean, it just kind of seems right to call a guy in a turtle-neck and jeans Steve – it wouldn’t be far-fetched. Hell, the guy gets MacWorld Magazine. And READS it. Not for nothing, but you know you’ve made it when there’s a MAGAZINE dedicated to your products. I mean seriously, that’s cool.

But, Steve, much as I like the MacBook that I’m typing on right now, as happy as I am with my iPhone and as much as I love browsing through iTunes for music, there’s one thing and one thing alone that sets my heart a-flutter for you.

You, sir have given my daughter freedom.

You see Steve, my daughter has autism. And for her, the world can get pretty damned overwhelming. For a long time, my girl couldn’t really go anywhere comfortably – certainly not to a restaurant. It was hard, Steve. Sometimes it was really hard.

But last night, we went to our local sushi joint for dinner with friends. We were later than we’d hoped to be and the place was pretty full. Full means loud, Steve. And loud can mean disaster. But we didn’t have to leave. Not once. Nope, my girl sat at the table with everyone else and ate her dinner.

Because now – thanks to you, she has a powerful tool to mitigate the madness. When it gets to be too much, she can reach into her dad’s pocket and say, “I will listen to my music now.” No matter where we are, she can slip on her headphones, plug into her iPod and retreat into a world that’s much more inviting and hospitable than the one around her. The nerve-wracking clang and clatter of her surroundings melts away into Godspell, Dora the Explorer , JoJo and The Beatles.

She’s even (mostly) learned not to sing along in public. Trust me, Steve, that’s bigger than you think.

And so, I wanted you to know that you have one more thing to add to your already mind-boggling resume. Pixar may have changed special effects for all time. Wonderful – I like a good flick as much as the next girl. The iMac no doubt dramatically altered home computing. My home movies thank you. And the iPhone certainly radically shifted the face of mobility. All great.

But it was a tiny green iPod that unlocked the world for one little girl.

And her mama is forever in your debt.

Keep up the good work, Steve.

Warmly,

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Jess


42 thoughts on “an unlikely love letter

  1. You really should send this along. I bet it would absolutely make his day to hear from you.

    Thank you ipod. I hope one day they make head phones made of chewy tubes. Maybe you could put a p.s. in your letter and request that for me?

    Happy new year,

    Jasmin

    • did you see this great suggestion form katie m?

      while we wait for the ‘official’ chewy tube headphones, you can make an unofficial pair by threading the wire through the long part of the chewy tube (cut off the top).

  2. Jasmin is correct, you must send this to him as he could be one of the biggest advocates for “our” kids. It would seem his heart is for his people already.
    Dad

  3. Love it. I’ve got a five that says Steve frames this one.

    We spent the afternoon yesterday downloading Laurie Berkner, Jack Johnson, Dan Zanes, the Wiggles and Dragon Tunes videos on Grayson’s new iPod touch. She loves it! I hope it will be as good a tool for her as it is for Brooke.

  4. I agree, send it! Ive been a Mac gal since the early 90’s. My first computer was a Mac IIsi. I still have a Quadra 840AV stored that I just cannot part with (Luau will know what Im talking about *grin*).

    My lil guy uses my iTouch like a pro. It helps when he gets a bit out of sorts – he sits and plays the 20+ free games Ive downloaded for him. There is some really cool stuff to be had!

    • you know, lis .. i didn’t even THINK to add in this part, but brooke LOVES playing games on our iphones too!

      doodle buddy and zoo match are her all time favorites!

  5. Jess, great piece, I love it! you have a gift for writing, I bet you already knew that. Anyway, if I may add, my 3 yr old son, also on the spectrum, reaches out for my iphone everytime we’re in a crowded place. This is the piece de resistance of my bag of tricks just to keep him steady/quiet everytime we go out. I had downloaded puzzle games, doodle games etc.. in my iphone and my son uses it more than I do! seriously. But the point is, when everything seems bleak and he is about to have a breakdown, i pull this wonderful gadget to pacify my precious…. so im there with you as you express your appreciation. 🙂

  6. Definitely send it! And while we wait for the ‘official’ chewy tube headphones, you can make an unofficial pair by threading the wire through the long part of the chewy tube (cut off the top).

  7. We got my eight year old an iTouch this year to use as a communication device and a neat distraction toy/learning toy. He is minimally verbal but loves to play some of the apps (even the free ones are pretty good)! We bought a pricey (but pretty good and customizable) app called Proloquo2go that serves as a communication program. We got a speaker case for the iTouch so it didn’t break on the first drop (Home goods/Marshalls $7.99!!!) to keep it safe. I too have become a Mac lover–looking forward to iFuture now…

    • I saw that app when it was introduced. How wonderful to have instead of a larger more cumbersome device like a DynaVox. Besides, it much cooler! 🙂

  8. hooray!!!

    (and if this gets jess a second iphone she’ll totally just turn around and raffle it off for a good cause.)

  9. We do the ipod thing at church (I am sure God smiles down on us because we made it). We do ipod while I shop, we do it in the doctors office, in the car, at resturants, and at three in the morning when sleep eludes our our son. Ipod has deffiantly changed our lives (who would have known). We can make it out of the house and he can escape back into his own world without having to leave ours.

    • YES! – this is exactly it:

      We can make it out of the house and he can escape back into his own world without having to leave ours

  10. My 4-year old son has a mild ASD, and my iPhone has been proven to be worth its weight in gold when it comes to calming him down. I can’t count the number of times we’ve been at the doctor’s office, a restaurant, visiting friends, etc. where he begins to get antsy or have a tantrum and I’ve been able to redirect him and calm him down with a favorite video. I’ve ripped all of his favorite movies and keep a couple of them on there at a time, just in case. And, since iTunes has some of his favorite TV shows available for purchase, we’ve been able to keep him even more entertained.

    I also found an app called KidStatz (it costs $1, but it’s the best $1 we’ve spent in a long time) that allows us to record information about our kids in case they ever get lost or are abducted. It lets us include information about his condition, as well as pictures of him. We’ll be going to Disney World with him for the first time in a couple of months and that app helps reduce some of the worry associated with our first big vacation with him. We’ll just take a picture of him every morning before we head out to the parks to document what he is wearing. If, God forbid, he disappears we can just use the app to e-mail a report (including pictures) to the staff to get help in locating him.

    Thank you SO MUCH, Steve Jobs!

  11. Of all the tools in our toolbox, Bud’s iPod is, without question, the most invaluable. I had to buy him a new one for Christmas (the old one is mysteriously MIA) and was thinking that it really should be covered by insurance – or, at the very least, eligible for Flexible Spending Account reimbursement.

  12. I just stumbled onto your site and have been reading voraciously! My iPod touch has been a LIFESAVER for those countless hours we have spent waiting in doctors offices. You seem like a gentle and wise mom and as a parent of a little boy with PDD-NOS as well as ADHD, I’m very happy to “meet ” you.
    I agree with the others, you MUST send S. J. That wonderful letter immediately, if you haven’t already done so.

  13. Pingback: perfect – part one « a diary of a mom

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