Biz that Gives
Old Navy gives 5-yr-old boy with autism his own mannequin store dog
- Rebecca Harlow’s five-year-old son with autism, Heath, suddenly became distressed while at an Old Navy store.
- The mannequin dog that used to be at the front door was not on display, and this made him troubled.
- Old Navy learned about what happened and gave Heath a mannequin dog of his own!
Rebecca Harlow was visiting the Old Navy store in Clovis, California with her five-year-old son, Heath, and daughter.
Suddenly, Heath became upset after noticing the Old Navy mannequin dog, whom he called “Magic,” wasn’t at the front of the store like usual.
“Heath was immediately upset and proceeded to hurry through the store, anxiety mounting, crying out ‘Dog!? Where did you go?! Where are you?! He’s gone!!’” — Rebecca shared in a July 10 Facebook post.
The mom explained why the changed layout of the store was stressing Heath: it was because his autism causes him to process “the world around him very differently than you and I.”
She added that “The smallest thing can bring him great joy or catapult him into a devastating meltdown. Predictability and routine are so important to help him through his day.”
When Rebecca asked an employee where the display dog was, she was told that it was currently not available — but was later surprised with good news!
The same employee later approached the mom and told her that the dog was back on display, so Heath could see him on their way out.
“My eyes filled with tears at this kind gesture and I couldn’t wait to tell Heath,” Rebecca wrote in the post. “I walked him and his little sister up to the front for a ‘surprise’. I tell you the joy on this little boy’s face… there’s nothing like it.”
“On days of sadness or rigidity or feelings that are just too big for his little body and mind, it’s moments like these that my heart explodes to see his happiness,” she continued. “He ran to the dog shouting ‘There he is!!!!!’ and hugged him and grinned with such pure relief and excitement.”
The doting mom ended her post with gratitude to the employee “for bringing happiness to a little boy who has a hard time in this world.”
That Facebook post reached Old Navy’s corporate team who wanted to do more for Heath.
They invited the little boy back to the store, not only to see Magic but to also bring his very own mannequin dog home!
“Heath’s Magic Moment!! Thank you to Old Navy and your kind-hearted employees!” Rebecca wrote on Facebook Friday.
She hoped that this kind gesture will inspire others to open their hearts to “anyone needing some extra love and acceptance.”
As for Old Navy, they said that they were touched by Heath’s sweet story.
“We believe in doing more than selling clothes… We couldn’t think of a better forever home for our buddy Magic the Dog and hope he continues to bring magic into this special little boy’s life.”