Shoe Salesman Helps 6-Year-Old With Autism Shop In Peace

by Jerriann Sullivan

Clarks shoe salesman goes the extra mile to help a child with autism shop

River Salter needed a new pair of shoes for school, but shopping in chaotic, loud stores can be stressful for him. The 6-year-old has autism, and like many others who have sensitivities to sounds and hectic environments, dealing with crowds to get some shoes picked out is not as easy as it seems.

Thankfully a sales associate at Clarks Shoes paid attention to River and his mom and went the extra mile to create a shopping environment that would work for them.

“It’s very hard for River to shop in loud and crowded stores at times, as it can become very overwhelming for him,” River’s mom Gem Salter told Scary Mommy. “It was so lovely that the store understood that and went out of their way to adapt it for him.” When Salter and her son visited their local Clarks the store was packed and very noisy. So River’s mom explained the situation to sales associate Aaran Daniel, who immediately knew what to do.

“Without hesitation, Aaran led us away from the noise and crowds to a staff room and placed a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door,” Salter wrote in a comment on the Clarks shoes page. “He was very patient with River, who was anxious, and went and got lots of different shoes for him to try on.”

Those extra steps to care for River made all the difference for him and his mom. “As a mother, as an autism parent, it will feel like the world is brutal and unkind and like nothing you do is right. It will feel like the world is judging you, judging your child,” Salter told us. “You’ll turn on the news and the world seems doomed. You’ll wonder if things will ever be OK again. But then, when you least expect it, someone will restore your faith in humanity. You’ll realize that your wizard may never fit in with our Muggle’s world, but that Muggles are getting more accommodating of wizards.”

Image via Gem Salter

Instead of having to leave the store empty-handed, River found a great pair of shoes. “Aaran also gave us the store number and said they’d happily book us an appointment before the store opens so that it’s quiet,” Salter shared. The experience made her realize “that people get that you’re doing the best you can, and are rooting for your child to succeed.”