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Stockton Mother Thanks Good Samaritan for Reaching Out to Her Autistic Son

STOCKTON -- A small, kind gesture in Stockton left a big impression on a mother and her 4-year-old son.

Eric Olivas Jr. is like any other 4-year-old, except that he is autistic and has trouble speaking.

His mother, Heather Coffey, said Eric's grandfather, who he lovingly calls papa, would often take him to parks. He died almost three years ago.

“Three weeks out of a month and comes take him to KFC, take him to the park, sneak him ice cream," Coffey said.

Last Friday, when a stranger visited Oak Park Stockton with his granddaughter, Coffey said her son mistook the man for his own grandfather.

“He didn’t want me to push him no more he just kept asking for papa to push him and kept pointing at him and reaching for him,” Coffey said.

Embarrassed, Coffey apologized to the stranger and explained that Eric is autistic.

“I explained to him that he has autism and he just said all kids want the same thing,” Coffey said. “It was really nice of him.”

It’s a small gesture, Coffey knows, but to her it meant the world.

“Crazy out here, it’s a lot of crime, you can’t really have your guard down," Coffey said. "So, for him to do that for a kid he doesn’t even know..."

The act so kind, Coffey said, it filled her heart.

“He still looks at the picture and asks to go to KFC," Coffey said. "Yeah, he don’t really understand.”

Friday morning’s trip to the park was a special one for the mother and son, who had planned on thanking the man in person.

“And I haven’t spoken to him face-to-face, so I want to say thank you face-to-face and let him know that we appreciated it,” she said.

Later in the afternoon, Coffey got her chance. She told FOX40 she went to pay a bill in the afternoon, recognized the man and said thank you in person.