Vernon Tim Hortons makes autistic boy’s day: mother

All Matthew wanted was some chocolate-chip cookies after a hard day

Many Canadians will stop at Tim Hortons to grab a double-double or a quick bite to eat and continue on with the day as if it were nothing. But for nine-year-old Vernon boy, Matthew Chabot, the trip made his day.

Matthew has autism.

Matthew attends the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism in Kamloops, which means there is a lot of travelling between Vernon and Kamloops. But on Saturday, that trip was especially challenging.

On Aug. 10, Matthew—who also has been diagnosed with epilepsy—had two seizures while the family was out and about. But as they were driving home to Vernon, Matthew grabbed his iPad and used his communication program, TouchChat, to ask his mother if they could stop at Tim Hortons and pick up some chocolate-chip cookies. His favourite.

“He had already had such a bad day,” Tammy said.

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“I called the Tims in Armstrong and they had nothing,” she said. “I thought well, the one out by us at the Landing almost never has the cookies and I phoned three other locations, but then I got a hold of the guy at the 27-Street location.”

Tammy said the Tim Hortons employee that answered the phone said he had a few of the coveted cookies on hand.

“Would you like us to keep them for you?” he asked her.

“This was definitely a first for us,” she said. “I know you can put clothes and stuff on hold at stores, but at a restaurant?”

Tammy said the gesture made Matthew’s day.

“Kids with autism, often those little things are really big things,” she said. “He lit right up.”

She said he devoured the first cookie, but savoured the second one. He brought it all the way home and brought it to his favourite snack spot and enjoyed the tasty treat.

Tammy decided to make a shout-out to the Tim Hortons on 27 Street and 35 Avenue to say thanks “for seriously easing my day yesterday.” And since Sunday, it has nearly 200 reactions.

For the rest of the summer, Matthew will continue to attend day camps at Chris Rose in Kamloops where he will go on field trips, try his hand at arts and crafts, swim and work on his skills.

“He even jumped off the high dive at the pool,” Tammy said proudly. “He’s braver than I am.”

Tammy said the family travels to Kamloops for this camp as Vernon doesn’t have anything specifically tailored to autistic children that need one-to-one care, such as Matthew.

But, “Vernon has a pretty inclusive special needs community,” she said.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

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