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Published: January 9, 2020

When Your Birthday? The Lesson of an Exceptional Young Man

Several years ago, I went to a Columbia, MO home to bid a rather large tree trimming and removal job. As I approached the door the most intriguing interaction of my adult life began, and it taught me a lot.  We had an appointment for 3:30 pm and not seeing any vehicles I was concerned the homeowners forgot about me. But before I reached the door it swung open with enthusiasm and there stood a very slight built twelve-year-old autistic boy.

He immediately asked me “when your birthday” I gave him the month and day, and with an aggravated look he invited me into the house.  Not seeing any adults, I did not come in and asked him if his parents were available.  He just said again when is your birthday.  I admit I was uncomfortable and told him I would check back later.  Not one minute after I left, the boy's mom called and said she just missed me, she was in the back yard.

So, I circled back around and met up with the mom and evaluated the tree work and we agreed that I would come back in 2 weeks and do the work. I had all but forgotten the odd interaction I had with the boy until we arrived two weeks later to do the tree work for his parents. As we prepared our tools he watched with great enthusiasm and curiosity.  I could tell he was looking for a chance to come talk to me again.

The opportunity arose as I walked around the corner of the house with my gear, preparing to climb a tree in the back yard.  I heard him run up behind trailed closely by his mom.  He looked at me with the same excited look as before and his mom said, “my son has a question for you.”  Hiding my discomfort, I said sure, fire away buddy.  There it was again “when your birthday?”  I said March 24th he looked aggravated again and said what yeeeeeaaaar!!? I told him and for about ten seconds he had a silent look of deep thought.

Then with a bright smile he said you were born on a Friday.   All at the same time my mind was blown, my heart was touched, and I was ashamed.  Through some avenue of incredible mental math this young man who I had written off as simple, figured out what day I was born on, well over twenty years ago.  The only reason I knew was because I was born on good Friday of that year, and still to this day my mom reminds me of it when we go to good Friday services at church before Easter.

The boy also knew every model of bobcat skid loader and exactly how much the one I had weighed.  His mom later told me he looked it up the minute we pulled in the drive with a skid on the trailer.  I myself never excelling at math especially mental math found out really quick that I was actually the simple one in the conversation.

If you have been reading these blogs, you have probably gathered that this is more of a platform for me to share what I have learned from you – my customers – as opposed to me teaching and sharing what I know about trees.  There is such a moving wealth of knowledge and perspective to be gained from everyone we get to meet and work for, and I cannot help but share.  Thank you again for everything we gain from each and every individual who calls on Resource Tree & Land.

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