After a boy with autism disrupted a Broadway show, this actor leapt to his defense.

Actor Kelvin Moon Loh was performing in a matinee of "The King and I" on Broadway when he heard a commotion in the audience.

Photo by Rob DiCaterino/Flickr.


During a particularly intense moment in the show, a young boy in the crowd started yelling and screaming. According to Loh, the boy's mother tried to lead him quietly out to the lobby, but the boy refused to go. A few members of the audience, frustrated by the disruption, started sniping at the mother.

“A few people just got upset," Loh told Upworthy. Even though the boy's cries had made it difficult to keep the show going, Loh couldn't fathom how anyone could give the boy and his mother grief.

It was clear to him that the child had autism.

“I was just emotional when I got off the stage." Loh said.

Kelvin Moon Loh. Photo via Kelvin Moon Loh, used with permission.

Loh felt terrible that a woman had worked up the courage to bring her son with autism to his show, only to have other audience members treat him like he had no right to be there.

“I thought that what was happening wasn't right," Loh said.

Later that day, he posted about the incident on Facebook (emphasis mine) and pulled no punches:

"I am angry and sad.

Just got off stage from today's matinee and yes, something happened. Someone brought their autistic child to the theater.


That being said- this post won't go the way you think it will.
You think I will admonish that mother for bringing a child who yelped during a quiet moment in the show. You think I will herald an audience that yelled at this mother for bringing their child to the theater. You think that I will have sympathy for my own company whose performances were disturbed from a foreign sound coming from in front of them.

No."





He proceeded to ask his fellow performers and audience members a very tough question:

"Instead, I ask you- when did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?

The theater to me has always been a way to examine/dissect the human experience and present it back to ourselves. Today, something very real was happening in the seats and, yes, it interrupted the fantasy that was supposed to be this matinee but ultimately theater is created to bring people together, not just for entertainment, but to enhance our lives when we walk out the door again.

It so happened that during 'the whipping scene', a rather intense moment in the second act, a child was heard yelping in the audience. It sounded like terror. Not more than one week earlier, during the same scene, a young girl in the front row- seemingly not autistic screamed and cried loudly and no one said anything then.

How is this any different?"






He then described the moment it all happened, as he experienced it from the stage:

"His voice pierced the theater. The audience started to rally against the mother and her child to be removed.

I heard murmurs of 'why would you bring a child like that to the theater?'. This is wrong. Plainly wrong.

Because what you didn't see was a mother desperately trying to do just that. But her son was not compliant. What they didn't see was a mother desperately pleading with her child as he gripped the railing refusing- yelping more out of defiance. I could not look away. I wanted to scream and stop the show and say- 'EVERYONE RELAX. SHE IS TRYING. CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT SHE IS TRYING???!!!!' I will gladly do the entire performance over again. Refund any ticket because-

For her to bring her child to the theater is brave. You don't know what her life is like. Perhaps, they have great days where he can sit still and not make much noise because this is a rare occurrence. Perhaps she chooses to no longer live in fear, and refuses to compromise the experience of her child. Maybe she scouted the aisle seat for a very popular show in case such an episode would occur. She paid the same price to see the show as you did for her family. Her plan, as was yours, was to have an enjoyable afternoon at the theater and slowly her worst fears came true.

I leave you with this- Shows that have special performances for autistic audiences should be commended for their efforts to make theater inclusive for all audiences. I believe like Joseph Papp that theater is created for all people. I stand by that and also for once,

I am in a show that is completely FAMILY FRIENDLY. The King and I on Broadway is just that- FAMILY FRIENDLY- and that means entire families- with disabilities or not. Not only for special performances but for all performances. A night at the theater is special on any night you get to go.

And no, I don't care how much you spent on the tickets."











Like so many Facebook posts, Loh's message was intended just for his family and close friends. Instead, it traveled around the world.

According to Loh, soon after the post went up, he began receiving messages of support from across the U.S., and as far away as Malaysia — not just from parents of children with autism, but from parents of children with disabilities and others who were moved by his call to include people who so often find themselves left out.

For Loh, providing that place of safety is why he and so many of his colleagues got into acting in the first place: to find refuge from a world that doesn't always understand.

“People who love the theater and people who work in the theater, they all came to it because in some way they felt different," Loh said. "They felt in some way they didn't belong, that they were of the outside. And so many people have that background."

His bottom line? A theater is a place where everyone should feel welcome.

Photo by Bahman Farzad/Flickr.

Theater is democratic. It's communal, and no one deserves to be kept away or told they don't belong. And if that means working through the occasional disruption, then so be it.

Compassion is what matters most.

“It's a difficult choice to lead with love first, but at the end of the day, that's what life is about," Loh said.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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