A teenager has shared the heart-warming gift and apology letter she received from an autistic man who lashed out at her.
17-year-old Ruby King from Sunderland has Asperger’s and lives in a supported living building where Christopher, who is in his 40s, lives in the flat below.
Although Ruby and Christopher do get on, regularly sharing takeaways and going on group trips together, his autism and bipolar disorder means he can be ‘irritable and unkind’.
The other week Christopher ‘lashed out’ at Ruby for the first time leaving her ‘deeply upset’ as his comments were in regards to her family.
She told UNILAD:
Christopher is a lovely character and what he said about my family wasn’t a personal dig at me rather a generalised insult.
However, I took it very personally as it struck a chord with me. He regretted his words almost immediately but I needed some time as it triggered a decline in my mental health.
I wasn’t upset at him like he thought I was, I was in fact just struggling with my own mind.
Deciding to make it up to her, Christopher surprised Ruby with a card, bag of cookies and some flowers.
Staff invited Ruby to his flat and she burst into tears as she read the touching note.
Christopher had written:
To Ruby, I don’t like how things are at the moment and I miss our times together talking and socialising.
Sometimes I say things in the heat of the moment I do not always mean. I hope you will accept my sorry gifts.
Love from Christopher. P.S. I really do like you and your family and dog.
After she gave him a hug to say thank you, Christopher then invited Ruby to do some gardening with her in the future as ‘everything is all good now’ as she ‘forgave him’.
Sharing photos of Christopher’s apology note and gifts on Twitter, Ruby has been overwhelmed at the response it has got.
I’m actually crying. I live in a building with an autistic man who has bipolar, he has angry outbursts and last week said something really unkind.
He struggles with understanding he’s in the wrong and apologising but gave me this today.
Receiving over 230,000 likes at time of writing (May 14), it clearly struck a chord with people.
Speaking about the response her tweet got, Ruby told UNILAD:
The amount of replies and quote tweets I’ve had saying give him a hug or share the cookies with him is hundreds!
I’m still in shock at the tweet going viral. I have a lot of anxiety at the moment surrounding it as I want to protect Christopher’s privacy at all costs but want to share this often previously undocumented emotive side of autism.
People have this misconception of autism that we are all emotionless robots when in fact we are some of the most emotive people we just struggle to display these emotions.
People have thanked me for being so understanding and fellow people on the spectrum have thanked me for showing this previously unseen side of the condition.
While Ruby will soon be moving out of the flats, she would like to keep in touch with Christopher but understands ‘he has real difficulties with people leaving so I think keeping in touch would cause more harm than good’.
Before she goes Ruby hopes to spend an evening or day with him as she will miss his company.
Diagnosed with Asperger’s herself, Ruby feels this enabled her to understand Christopher and know he didn’t mean any harm.
I don’t personally have outbursts like him but I do have my own faults that sometimes people don’t sympathise with.
The stigma around autism is vast. From my personal experience I’ve experienced more lack of understanding with my autism diagnose than my mental health diagnoses.
I think schools need more educating on the autism spectrum. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 15-years-old – that’s a lot of years in school being bullied and feeling like an outsider without anybody picking up that there might be a diagnosable condition there.
My life changed for the better once I had my diagnosis, I embraced my quirks and informed people of my diagnosis like it was my age.
Keep spreading awareness, Ruby!
To find out more about autism and Asperger’s, you can visit The National Autistic Society’s website.
You can follow Ruby on her YouTube channel.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.