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Stranger's Auction Bid Makes Day for Boy with Autism

This guest post is from Nicola Gaul, the mother of a son on the autism spectrum with an incredible story to share. 

My son, Giovanni has always had an interest in racing. He loves all things that can make him go fast. Like other kids with Asperger's, when he finds something particularly interesting, he makes it his priority to know everything there is to know on the subject. As a toddler, he loved playing with cars. Red with red, blue with blue, never allowed to touch. He would line them up according to color and loved to spin their wheels. When he was young, my husband and I started taking him with us to the track.

Whether it was NASCAR racing in a circle or at Maple Grove watching the cars go down the quarter mile, he loved it. The excitement on his face was like no other. He would play one particular drag racing game anytime we would allow him and he made sure he remembered all of the drivers names and their cars. I never thought this could turn into what it has.

Last Sunday, my husband and I took Gio to an estate sale. Up for auction was a junior drag race car, previously driven by a talented young girl. We discussed the fact that there may not be as much interest in the car as other items and decided we were going to bid. We talked price. We couldn't afford to spend too much, since this was unexpected.

This was an outside auction and since it was very cold, I asked Gio if he would like to sit in the truck with me until they announced the auction of the car. He was to excited about the fast paced auction and wanted to stay with dad. An hour later, I am dashing out of the truck and running across the parking lot as they quickly announced and started the bidding. I was not halfway across the parking lot before I heard the bid go quickly past what we could afford.

Oh well. That would still be an incredible buy for someone with the money, I thought. Good for them. I had no idea where my husband and son were. I waslooking through a crowd of about 200 people. The auctioneer started to ask someone if this was their first car and how old they are. I hear him announce, "10years old and your first car! You are going to be the coolest kid in fifth grade!" My stomach immediatly felt ill.

I saw no other kids there and this was much more than we could afford to spend. I knew this had to be my son. I saw him jumping up and down with excitement. My gut was right, my husband is dead meat! I wanted to be happy for my son, but this was a lot of money for us. I was immediatly intercepted by the stranger next to my husband. He said, "Don't be mad at your husband, I told him to keep bidding. Your husband stopped bidding and I saw the excitement in your son's face and then the sadness when your husband could not bid any higher."

This man, Vince Capcino, told my husband that he would pay the difference. My husband did not know this man and did not agree. The man started to bid himself and won. He handed my husband the difference from when he stopped bidding. A pile of crisp 100 bills. The people at the auction were stunned. They said they have never heard of anything like this happening, in all the years they have been doing auctions. It took me a while to comprehend what was going on.

It isn't everyday that something like this happens to your family. Vince told me he grew up with a lot of siblings and this was something he dreamed of having as a kid. He explained that he owned a transmission shop and that a few years ago business was not so good for him. His brother surprised him with a billboard sign on I-95.

From then on, his business was doing great. An act of kindness. This was Vince's way of paying it forward. He told me, "This isn't my money, this is God's money, he brought it to me. This will change your son's life." He had no idea just how much this could. My son doesn't have solid friends. He has kids he says hello to in the halls. An occasional kid who will stop over to play a video game every once in a blue moon. Kids who will come over and play on the trampoline. This could change his life! I hugged him and cried. This stranger is now a person who will always mean so much to me and to my family.

Finally a place where my son could talk about one subject for hours and nobody would care! Racing is such a family-oriented community. So many people have reached out to us congratulating us and telling me how much they loved hearing what happened. From junior drag racers to pro drag racers, my inbox had so many messages. Aside from the day my son was was born, I never felt so much love in the world. We are forever grateful for all those who have reached out to us and especially Vince and God. He has no idea just how much he has changed my son's life, our lives. It's not just about the car. It was how my heart was touched that day. It opened my eyes to be extra kind every day. To go out of my way for someone when I can, to smile more! To pay it forward, it's contagious!


The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.