READER REPORT: Anti-mask tirade targets autistic student

Many mask mandates are ending. That doesn’t mean mask-wearing is ending for everyone. Some people will still be required to; some will still choose to. Many elected and community leaders have stressed the importance of not hassling those who continue to wear them. We received this report from Gary about an incident today:

Our son is 19 years old and high-functioning autistic. He is part of the Seattle Public Schools BRIDGES program, aimed at helping Special Needs kids integrate into adult life / society.

After getting off the bus [with his teacher] and walking around 26th and Roxbury on the way to class [at the former Roxhill Elementary building], a large truck decided to stop, pull out his phone, start recording them, yelling and swearing how he is brainwashed and doesn’t need to wear a mask outside. Although not “illegal,” I’m sure many parents can understand the emotions that it brings. We now have to pay attention if this has caused additional apprehension about riding Metro, the community, and people in general. All of which are difficult for kids with special needs.

It was handled well by the teacher, and the truck moved on… just truly a shame how selfish and rude people are, unaware of the damage and setbacks something like this could actually cause to somebody.

36 Replies to "READER REPORT: Anti-mask tirade targets autistic student"

  • J March 3, 2022 (7:18 pm)

    Just awful. I’m sorry your son had to go through this.

  • Axe March 3, 2022 (7:26 pm)

    How bereft is that driver’s life that he had to pull over just to mask-shame a kid. Almost just as bad was Gov. Ron Desantis’ recent rude and disrespectful treatment of local high school kids for wearing a mask. ….we get it, some of you don’t like masks. keep it to yourself.

    • Ly March 4, 2022 (1:51 pm)

      i think people like Desantis think it makes them look better when they try and drag others down. But i mean, it’s Desantis. Records show he has terrible judgement. lol

  • Kris March 3, 2022 (7:34 pm)

    So incredibly sorry this happened to your son. 

  • Zipda March 3, 2022 (7:46 pm)

    Sounds like the truck driver was sadly the brainwashed fool.

  • WS Res March 3, 2022 (8:10 pm)

    That’s awful. I would be furious if this were my kid.

  • miws March 3, 2022 (8:17 pm)

    So, if the truck driver was recording the young man and his teacher, maybe he’ll show it to his family and/or friends. I don’t know what the chances are that the truck driver would read WSB, but, if he *does* show it to someone, and *they* are reading this, please let him know that he didn’t simply say something mean that might “only” hurt his target’s feelings, he yelled it to a neuro-divergent person and ND people process things differently than neuro-typical people do. ND’s often take things too literally, and, as the last sentence of the report mentions, it can emotional damage and setbacks. If anyone reading here knows who this guy is, please let him know that he is scum. I usually don’t post this harsh-sounding on WSB, I’m normally more the “peace-maker” type. I really want to say more strongly-worded things, but will leave it at that… —Mike

  • sw March 3, 2022 (8:18 pm)

    The fact that the driver of the truck filmed the interaction likely means this is all an attempt to make him feel more popular in the eyes of his like-minded peers. Pathetic. 

  • Jort March 3, 2022 (8:21 pm)

    There was a comment earlier on this very fine blog from somebody taking careful, noted observations of how many people were and were not wearing masks in social settings, noting their perplexity at how “bizarre” these people were. Note Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, earlier this week, snapping with spittle and bile at teenage high school students, screaming at them to remove their masks during a photo opportunity because they are “COVID theater.” Here we will see that the people who claim to care about freedom do not actually care about it, they care about telling people what they can and can not do. If someone chooses to wear a mask, that is their choice. How dare you confront people, even children, over it, just because your feelings are hurt that conservatives have been wrong about the COVID epidemic from literally day one, every single step of the way. Shame.

    • Common Sense March 3, 2022 (9:21 pm)

      Unfortunate that someone would choose to speak  to anyone, child or adult, in such a confrontational manner.Jort- did you watch the video of Gov. DeSantis’s interaction with those students?  No one screamed at anyone, he informed them they did not have to wear the masks in his presence AND clearly told them they could choose to keep them, which some of them did.  These type of inflammatory comments make things worse.   People have died because of a virus not because they are conservative or liberal.  Just as many people have died under the current administration as the previous one.   This region has followed the CDC from day one, now the CDC says masks aren’t necessary unless you are in a high risk group, and now we choose to question the CDC. 

      • WSDUDEMAN March 3, 2022 (10:23 pm)

        Common Sense, clearly you are wrong, the Governor was ‘snapping with spittle and bile at teenage high school students, screaming at them…’ Sorry, had to be snarky and agree with all your points. Well stated.

      • Axe March 3, 2022 (11:08 pm)

        I have to disagree with you on this one Common Sense and agree with Jort. (And I do not often agree with Jort). DeDantis did more than “inform” the students they didn’t need masks. He acted with disgust and huffed at them. DeSantis’ actions were prettu despicable in fact (as was the truck driver’s of course).  I’m wondering whether there might have been 2 different clips of governor DeSantis. And perhaps you missed the one that Jort and I are referring to. 

      • Jort March 3, 2022 (11:31 pm)

        Nope. That’s not what I said. What I said is that so-called, self-appointed true defenders of “freedom” seem to seethe with uncontrollable anti-social rage at people who choose to exercise their freedom to wear a mask. This truck driver, the internet commentator and the governor of Florida all share in this fascistic impulse to mock people’s personal concerns for their health. It is cheap shot punching down, and it is extremely disgusting and gross. 

      • Belvidear March 4, 2022 (6:58 am)

        He yelled “ridiculous.”

      • Anne March 4, 2022 (8:28 am)

        Wow -you need to watch  that De Santis video again-he was an angry bully. 

      • Human nature isn't gonna change March 4, 2022 (10:03 am)

        This incident is just nasty and unnecessary, I don’t understand why people have to be so hateful!  I hope the young man is ok!Jort’s comments are funny though because they make a big deal about freedom and then they say this:  “conservatives have been wrong about the COVID epidemic from literally day one, every single step of the way. ”   What an inflammatory statement.  I love the italicized “literally” – sounds like my teenage daughter :)  I think a lot of folks have been right and/or wrong about Covid, conservative, liberal, etc…  Scientists, doctors, there have been lots of failures and success from all sides along the way.   These blanket statements about how one side or the other is completely wrong and the other side is completely right, just don’t make sense.  They seem to perpetuate inflammatory feelings, like this nasty truck driver exhibited.I guess it’s just not possible for people to be respectful of each other and their thoughts/views/feelings, no matter what side they’re on :(

        • Ivan Weiss March 4, 2022 (10:56 am)

          Jort is 100 percent correct on this issue.

      • Another One March 4, 2022 (2:18 pm)

        The CDC says that masks can and should be used regionally according to certain data points. They didn’t say masks aren’t necessary except for high risk groups.

  • Bonnie March 3, 2022 (8:29 pm)

    That is just awful. I am sorry your son had to go through that. 

  • Batty March 3, 2022 (8:31 pm)

    I am so sorry for your 19-year old son. I’m impressed that he’s in BRIDGES, heard that’s a great program.  I hope he and his teacher ignored this cantankerous, small-minded, imbecile in the truck – that is 100% not ok and he must have some serious issues.Props to them for walking away and taking the high road. Hope your son knows that the vast majority of people in West Seattle are on his side.  

  • star 55 March 3, 2022 (8:36 pm)

    So sorry for  your son but so grateful he had a good teacher with him. Hope they both are okay and the teacher gets recognized for their hard work.

  • Gary March 3, 2022 (9:19 pm)

    Thank you all for the kind words…  our son is a strong kid with the biggest heart.  He brings joy to all he meets.   I can only hope the man who did this can find some joy in his own life.    We always need to remember we don’t know where somebody else’s life is at, I hope it was just a bad day for the driver.   

    • Common Sense March 3, 2022 (9:38 pm)

      Kudos to you Gary!  I will sleep well tonight with your insightful words, you are clearly raising an incredible young man by your example. 

    • Ly March 4, 2022 (1:42 pm)

      Gary, You have a bigger heart than me. I hope your son is ok. That poor excuse of a human in that truck certainly was an unhappy person, your family did not deserve that. You and your family have obviously learned the valuable lesson on being kind to people no matter what, because we just don’t know where they are with life. Truck driver idiot missed that lesson sadly.

      • Gary March 4, 2022 (3:01 pm)

        Ly, don’t get me wrong in the moment if I was there I probably would have pulled him out of the car and handled it differently.   I was literally shaking angry when I found out.   At this point though it, is the world we sadly in. Next year he will likely have to ride the bus to volunteer at swedish which will be the 3rd and pine stop l, hopefully this helped prepare him for those interactions.  Head up and don’t engage!

  • bolo March 3, 2022 (10:20 pm)

    What’s the deal with truckers and masks? Seems like a thing these days.

    Few years ago they would have been called snowflakes?

    • Pessoa March 4, 2022 (6:55 am)

      Sure, it’s all about being a “snowflake.”  That must be it. 

    • KM March 4, 2022 (7:52 am)

      They’re generally the ones calling others snowflakes. There’s a whole brand of precious large truck men out there that don’t understand irony.

  • Elton March 3, 2022 (11:33 pm)

    Crazy how some of these people claim to be concerned about personal freedom but ultimately they’re only concerned with people making the same choice that they do with that freedom. Hope this young man is able to recover from this incident – I feel like it would be traumatic for anyone that age so can’t even imagine the impact on this special needs individual.

  • Lola March 4, 2022 (7:56 am)

    I will still be wearing my mask outside so come at me for doing so.  You will get an ear-full from me.  Don’t even harrass someone for doing this.  Enough is enough especially since it is not harming you are anybody else if we decide to still wear masks.  Take your crazy pics elsewhere you morons. 

  • raybro March 4, 2022 (8:36 am)

    Whatever happened to “mind your own business”?  

  • wsperson March 4, 2022 (12:19 pm)

    I’m sorry that happened, I was going to continue wearing my masks just because I think I look good in them but now I will also continue to wear them in support of others who need to or want to.

  • Ly March 4, 2022 (1:48 pm)

    What a jerk. My 8 year old son insists on wearing a mask outside now, even though he is well aware he does not need to. Reason? It keeps his face warm. Other reason? I don’t have to provide anyone a reason.It’s his choice. One day walking back from PCC we saw someone headed toward us, so my son said let’s cross the street to avoid this lady. The lady saw us move away  and she proceed to say to us”Oh you don’t have to cross the street to avoid me.” I replied “Actually I do and I can if i want to. Don’t tell us what we can or cannot do”.   Can people just mind their own damn business? To the truck driver: you feel so threatened by a mask to have to do that? Doesn’t mean you have the rights to say something, that you should. Just mind your bloody business and move along.

  • Maskless in Seattle March 4, 2022 (2:46 pm)

    I look forward to dropping my mask but I have no problem with others wearing theirs, outside, inside, in their cars, to bed, who cares!  What a bizarre thing to be bothered by.  This was a vile incident.  I don’t understand why people are so hung up on other people’s legal choices, whether they lean right or left.  Or are fully prone, left or right.  :)Of all the petty things to make a scene about!  

  • Yep March 5, 2022 (12:32 pm)

    Autism aside, it’s mean and self serving to make such a statement to anyone. 

  • IPreferAnimals March 6, 2022 (4:35 pm)

    I’m so sorry for the trauma your son had to endure. It’s the act of a total coward to attack and harass anyone from his big “tough-guy” truck. It’s the same people who claim it’s their right and freedom to speak and do as they please but don’t feel that applies to others. Because they are too stupid to realize the irony and hypocrisy.  This is what happens when society is full of people who lack a good education and good manners. Gary, you are way too nice to suggest that maybe that driver was having a bad day. Having a bad day doesn’t give anyone permission or excuse to behave like an uneducated, uncivilized neanderthal. It may be hard to accept, but some people are just born evil. Or just raised by really crappy parents. I’m glad your son and his teacher are ok otherwise.  

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