thank you



Brooke with her friends, Dora, Diego and Mr Shawn


Dear Nick Hotel staff,

Sometimes words aren’t big enough. This is one of those times.

You welcomed me and my girl with open arms.

You reveled in her excitement (and mine for her).

You treated her like royalty.

You understood just how much it meant to her.

You could see that her love of all things Dora and Blue was far from typical.

You knew that you had an extraordinary fan.

And you respected that.

“No,” said the photographer, “I didn’t know that Dora’s sister and brother were named Isabella and Guillermo. Thank you so much for telling me that so that now I can ask her about them!”

She got it.

You all got it.

And when you didn’t, you asked questions.

When I explained to a hostess at breakfast that my girl is autistic, she said, “I have heard that word a lot – autism, but I really don’t know what it means. Do you mind if I ask?”

We talked about it. How differently it affects individuals, yet some cues to look for. She said again, “I hope you don’t mind me asking.” I told her that I was so grateful that she did.

You made the magic real. You made the characters with whom she spends so much time, friends.

You gave her the ultimate gift – time. Never a hurry. Never a rush. Pat-a-cake and Ring Around the Rosy and Simon Says. Again and Again. (And again.)

There are no words big enough. So THANK YOU will have to suffice.

Special thanks to Stephen Smith. I don’t know how you knew, but thank you. To GMs Mohamed Kahramane and Karla Hettinger, you’re doing something right. Please, keep doing it. To Jamal, Sam and especially Shawn the Storyteller and the wonderful people who made Dora, Diego and all of the characters real for my girl, you can’t imagine how much of an impact you made. Then again, I’m pretty sure I saw Shawn welling up while Brooke was dancing with her new friends, so maybe you can.

To our friends at Jet Blue — well, you guys warrant a post of your own. It will come soon; I promise. Because the autism community needs to know who our people are. And you, my friends, are our people.

And of course, to my dad, who made this trip possible. You gave us memories that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. I know you know.

Thank you all.


19 thoughts on “thank you

  1. Absolutely the very best way to start my morning, as always. Loved the so sweet final slide and have some real love and admiration for the humans in the Nick costumes spreading such joy. What a gift from your Dad. Thanks for sharing – hundreds of thousands of followers about to start their day with a huge smile (and tears of joy)! Xo

  2. I LOVE the pic towards the beginning of her looking up, beautiful! And ring around the rosy with TMNT…awesome! She looks SO happy! What an amazing gift!! Also, I love the blue dress with the flowers she’s wearing towards the end. So glad your experience was amazing! Thanks for the smile first thing in the morning! 🙂

  3. Your slideshows always give me goosebumps. The joy on her face was priceless! My favorite part is she made the tough old Ninja Turtles dance with her, lol.

  4. Brooke’s absolute joy shines right through these pictures! What a amazing experience you guys got to share! Beautiful….we took my baby girl to sesame place last year…her Mecca…the pics are priceless…we look back at them almost everyday!

  5. That girl just radiates joy! No…she vibrates with it. I’m so thrilled that you could make this trip happen (thanks, Dad!!) and that you are sharing the joy. It’s kind of nice to read a completely different autism-travel narrative. It gives many of us great hopes. 🙂

  6. Thank you for posting this. Yours and your daughter’s experience at the Nick Hotel is one all of us will remember. I wish I could have been there to experience it first hand, but I feel like I was there the way the cast came back after the Story Time show and told me about their interactions with your daughter. They were so excited to have been able to play with her and see how happy she was to be around them. I shared your posting and the video with our team and the pride they felt from being able to have such a positive impact on your vacation was immense. It’s not often that we are able to see the effect we have on our guests, so this is particularly special for us to watch the video montage you put together. Please let Brooke know that Dora, Diego, Blue, Mr. Shawn and all of her Nick Toon friends hope she’ll come back and visit them again!
    and PS….I love her feather extension!

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