A trip to the grocery store took an unusual turn for Sid Edwards in July 2018. When his autistic son Jack Ryan began stacking the shelves with a member of staff, Sid and his family decided to do something about it. But none of them could have predicted what would happen next.
Jordan Taylor works at Rouses supermarket in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His mother, Teresa Taylor, is also employed by the chain, at their store in Bluebonnet. And Jordan told WAFB that she has taught him important life lessons such as to “always help others when you can.”
Twenty-year-old Jordan grew up in the local area, and although he was working at the grocery store in the summer of 2018 after graduating from high school two years previously, he hoped to be able to go to college someday. Taylor loves mathematics and wants to become a teacher.
On July 30, 2018, Jack Ryan’s sister Delaney Edwards Alwosaibi shared a video to Facebook. She revealed that the previous day, her father Sid had taken her brother to the local Rouses. There, the 17-year-old – whom she calls Ziggy – noticed Taylor stacking the shelves with orange juice.
Sid, who is athletic director and head football coach at Central High School, where his wife Beanie is also a special education tutor, assumed that Jack Ryan wanted to get some juice for himself. But once the teen had retrieved the drink, he continued to watch the employee intently. He appeared fascinated by the way in which Taylor was filling the refrigerator.
Autism, also known as autistic spectrum disorder, is a developmental issue. Sufferers often have difficulty communicating or socializing with others. And many people with the condition display an inclination towards repetitive actions.
So for Jack Ryan, it seems that the recurring task of filling the supermarket refrigerator with bottles of juice was captivating. Moreover, it didn’t take long for Taylor to notice this. “Something in the back of my mind was just like, ‘Ask if he wants to help you,’” Taylor told WAFB.
Taylor subsequently spent half an hour of his shift patiently restocking the shelves along with Jack Ryan. He would hand the teenager the bottles and watch as Jack Ryan placed them in position. After a while, the boy’s father began to film them.
“It was a big deal,” Sid told CNN. “To me, when you go to a grocery store with an autistic kid, especially when they’re young, people don’t understand, they’re not very accepting. Somehow, this young man reached my son… he went into Jack Ryan’s world.”
In the heartwarming video of Taylor and Jack Ryan working together, Sid can be heard saying, “I’m watching a miracle in action.” After their supermarket visit, he sent the clip to other members of his family. And his daughter then decided to share it online.
“Talk about a stand up young man!!!! My dad took Ziggy to Rouses yesterday and apparently he was interested in stocking the shelves,” Alwosaibi wrote in a Facebook post. “We all know autism makes going out difficult, and sometimes grocery stores can be a challenge. This young man took the time to slow down and allow Jack Ryan to help for over 30 minutes, guiding him as he finished his task.”
Alwosaibi added, “He could have ignored him. He could have made an excuse and said he couldn’t allow him to help. Instead, he let him have his moment and in turn gave my family a moment we will never forget.”
It wasn’t long before Alwosaibi’s post went viral, with it being liked more than 17,000 times. Multiple media outlets covered the touching story as well, and viewers were moved by Taylor’s actions. “With all of the negativity in the world today this is a joy to see,” Mary Broadway commented, while Melanie Johnelle Walker added, “That’s truly a moment that young man will never forget. God will surely bless him.”
However, Taylor insisted that it wasn’t a big deal. “If you would have flipped the camera, you would have seen his dad’s face. It said it all,” he said when asked what had inspired him to work with the autistic teen. “[His dad] was just happy and [Jack Ryan] was happy putting the juices up, and I was just happy that I could make someone else happy and make their day.”
What’s more, a few days later, Alwosaibi was able to meet Taylor in person for the first time. “To me, I’ve always heard the things people do when no one is watching is their true character,” she told him, according to WAFB. “And you didn’t know how many people were going to end up seeing you do that, you just did it out of the kindness of your heart.” But Alwosaibi didn’t stop there.
Alwosaibi also started a GoFundMe campaign to help Taylor. Jack Ryan’s sister was hoping to raise $100,000 to pay towards a college education for the grocery store employee. Incredibly, the donations hit the target over the course of only a few days, and after one month the total stood at more than $131,000.
In addition, Neighbors Federal Credit Union also presented Taylor with a new car. And on August 20, three weeks after his encounter with Jack Ryan, he became a student at Grambling State University. The 20-year-old is studying math education and hopes to continue his passion for basketball through the college program at the same time.
“I used to have three brothers but now I have four. Jordan Taylor will forever hold a special place in my heart and I will hold onto the kindness he showed my baby brother years after the media forgets,” Alwosaibi wrote on Facebook. “I’m so proud of him and happy for him I could burst. The support from all over the world has been incredible.”
Another GoFundMe page was started to raise money for the Edwards family to support Jack Ryan and his older brother Chase, who also struggles with autism. The fundraiser has since drawn in more than $6,000 in donations. What’s more, Rouses offered Jack Ryan a part-time job assisting with stocking the food and drink – and he accepted.
Although Taylor’s small act of kindness ended up going a long way, he admits to being amazed that it changed his life. “Never pictured all this would happen. I was just being me, that’s it,” he told WAFB through tears. “I just wanted to help somebody out, enjoy something.”