A 9-year-old boy learns to be a superhero with the help of a friendly waiter.
The world would be a much brighter place if we all showed one another this type of kindness.
Born with a congenital heart defect, Oscar underwent open-heart surgery when he was just six days old.
He was born with the condition transposition of the great arteries.
"His father and I faced an uncertain future with our newborn son," Oscar's mom, Jeni, told me via email. "Our world wasn't just turned upside down — it was inside out and shaken around and very confusing."
Thanks to help from Heart Link Children's Charity, Jeni and her husband were given accommodations near the hospital to stay near their young son as he worked through the early stages of recovery. The charity also helped by providing some of the equipment Oscar would need for his long-term survival.
Now 9 years old, Oscar is alive and well, though he has to meet with a cardiologist from time to time.
Earlier this week, during an appointment with his cardiologist, Oscar was devastated to learn that he couldn't practice karate.
So on the way home, Jeni decided to stop at the local TGI Fridays for dinner.
What happened next changed the course of a sad, stressful day and transformed it into something amazing.
The experience at TGI Fridays turned the day around, and Oscar learned a wonderful lesson.
Here's the story, as posted to Jeni's Facebook page and republished here with permission:
"So here's a happy post. We went to TGI on our way home from the hospital. Before taking Oscar in I went in to check that there were no Halloween decorations (Os is petrified of Halloween). I explained his ASD and the gent on reception was great saying I could choose where we sat so Os was happy. Well, it had to be the Star Wars table didn't it and I said he was a Star Wars loving superhero."
ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. "Oscar is a sensory seeker (part of autism), and as a result can be a messy eater," Jeni told Upworthy. So dining out isn't something the family does often because people can be quite rude.
"About six months ago in a local pub we actually had a family move from sitting next to us and we heard the words 'disgusting' used in reference to Oscar. He's far from disgusting — he just thoroughly enjoys his food and finds it hard to control his body when it's THAT good!"
But Oscar had gotten some bad news that morning about not being able to practice his karate, and he deserved a lunch out.
"Fast forward ten mins and the waitress comes over and says 'I understand you're a superhero. Here's your menu.' Os was a bit bummed as today the cardiologist said he couldn't do Karate because of his heart... In his mind that means he's not a superhero. So I explained his sad face to the perplexed waitress and ordered food.
Dinner arrived and then a new waiter came over. 'Is your dinner ok!' Os replied 'It's only just got here silly!' and laughed. The waiter smiled and walked away. He returned moments later with two balloon models he'd made for Os."
"A little while later he came over and asked me if he could buy a pudding, any pudding off the menu, for Os. Well there was no stopping Boo... Chocolate Brownie it was! When he served it I asked why. 'Because he's a superhero!' was [the waiter's] reply.
And on the bill... SUPERHERO was the discount given."
Superhero discount, right there in writing:
Oscar's mom finishes her Facebook post with a thank you to the wait staff:
"Fantastic service. Thank you so very much from a mum who has had an emotional roller-coaster of a day and from a boy who is now sleeping soundly with a belly full of chocolate brownie."
Upworthy reached out to TGI Fridays Director of Culture and People Development Jacqui McManus about Oscar's story.
From this experience, Oscar has learned that a real superhero comes from within, not from karate.
"Although I was choking back the tears after an emotional day, it was lovely to see Os and his cuddly Chewbacca toy enjoying himself without worrying," Jeni told Upworthy.
"He didn't really realize the impact he'd had on [the waiter]," Jeni said. With her Facebook post about their lunch at over 10,000 Likes, she says Os is starting to understand that a "real 'superhero' comes from within and he must be a superhero if he made so many people smile."