Jacksonville Ruby Tuesday manager applauded for act of kindness to boy with autism

by: Brittney Donovan, Action News Jax Updated:

A Jacksonville Ruby Tuesday manager is being applauded for her act of kindness to a boy with autism.

Katie Denton says she was eating dinner with her family and 11-year-old stepson Saturday at Ruby Tuesday off Hodges Boulevard in Jacksonville.

She said her stepson, Slade, has a high-functioning form of autism and loves dishwashers and washing machines.

The restaurant manager Ashley Hussey was talking to Denton's mom when Slade asked if the restaurant had a big dishwasher in the back.

Denton said Hussey said yes and started telling Slade about her favorite kinds of dishwashers.

"We ordered our food, and Slade kept talking to us about dishwashers and how he wanted to see the one they had in the kitchen," Denton said on Facebook. "My husband told him, 'You’ll have to wait 'til we get home because you can’t go in the kitchen here. It’s only for people who work here.'”

Slade said OK and continued coloring.

Denton said she decided to ask Hussey if Slade could peek through the window of the kitchen door and look at the dishwasher.

"I walked over to her and introduced myself and said, 'You’re going to think I’m crazy for asking this, but...' and before I could get the words out of my mouth, Ashley said, 'I’m already planning on bringing him in the back and letting him run some dishes through the dishwasher,'" Denton said. "I almost fell to my knees. I started sobbing. I couldn’t believe that this sweet, young lady who didn’t know our family, would go out of her way to let Slade look at something as simple as the dishwasher. I was floored. Speechless. All I could say was, “You are seriously about to make his life,' as I hugged her like she was an old friend."

Denton said Slade was so happy when she told him he had a surprise coming and that Hussey was going to let him go wash some dishes.

"He started bouncing up and down, and shouting, 'I’m so excited!'" Denton said. "About five minutes later, Miss Ashley came over to our table, gave Slade an apron, and led him to the back. The whole staff was cheering him on."

Denton shared video of Slade washing dishes on Facebook and wrote, "Thank you, Ashley and the Ruby Tuesday’s staff. You have absolutely no idea how special of a treat this was and how much we appreciate you. We can’t thank you enough. You guys are ROCKSTARS and you made our boy’s day. It’s little things like this that just make ya feel good."

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