It seemed for too long there wasn’t any kindness in the world, but thanks to social media, we are getting to see the best of people. Social media has its flaws, but one thing it has really managed to achieve is to bring people closer together. Now someone doing something amazing in Kansas or Buffalo can be seen all over the world as people share and like videos or pictures of those good deeds.
In the days before social media to see these amazing deeds, we had to rely on the local news teams to watch or read heartwarming stories. Now there are dedicated social media pages that only bring their followers the best stories of humans being amazing to each other.
In another heartwarming tale, one employee at a store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, let an autistic teen help him stock the shelves and naturally the video went viral. Then, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, strangers started donating money to him and helped raise over $120K.
We’ve all had to get a job out of school, and Jordan Taylor was no different. He was working at Rouses Market, a grocery store in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Jordan had no idea that during this shift he would touch the lives of millions by a simple but generous gesture he made for one of the store’s customers.
It wasn’t a glamorous job for Jordan, but at least it was honest work. Before he knew it though, Jordan was set to make friends all over the world through his actions at the grocery store.
Stocking the shelves
As anyone who has ever worked in a grocery store will know, one of the main roles is to stock the shelves. Customers come along and take what they want, but there’s a whole magic stockroom out the back of the store filled with more goodies. Jordan was minding his own business in the store restocking orange juice containers in the cooler when he could feel as though someone was watching him.
The grocery store employee looked around and discovered that there was one person in the store who had taken a particular interest in Jordan. It wasn’t because of Jordan the person watched on with interest though, it was because of what he was doing.
Jordan was just doing his job by restocking the cooler with the orange juice. He didn’t think anyone would pay him any attention, but there was someone just watching what he was doing. That person was Jack Ryan Edwards, an autistic teen who seemed fascinated by Jordan and the way he was stacking the orange juice cartons in the cooler.
After noticing Jack Ryan watching, Jordan figured he probably just wanted to take some orange juice. The store employee offered a carton of juice to Jack Ryan, but he didn’t get a response. At that point, Jordan could have just turned his back on Jack Ryan and continued with his work, but he figured the 17-year-old boy wanted something from him.
Out of school
Although he was working at Rouses Market, Jordan’s goal in life was to get back to school. The store employee was just 20 and had his whole life ahead of him, but hadn’t been to school in a couple of years. He was doing everything he could to get back into education, but it doesn’t come cheap, so he had to work hard to save up as much money as possible.
Although he intended to get back to school, many people who follow Jordan’s path in life can find it tough to achieve their dreams. It was all about putting in the hours at the grocery store for Jordan and hoping that one day he’d get back to education.
Figuring out what Jack Ryan wanted
As Jordan continued to do his job, he couldn’t help but wonder what it was that Jack Ryan wanted from him. The young man was looking intently at what he was doing so Jordan asked Jack Ryan if he’d like to help him with his job. After receiving no response when Jordan asked if Jack Ryan would like some orange juice, he got what seemed like confirmation when he asked if the boy would like to help.
Jordan thought he heard some kind of verbal confirmation so decided to give it a shot and began to encourage Jack Ryan to help him with his work. It was work that Jordan was very familiar with, but it seemed as though the shelf-stacking was new to Jack Ryan.
Jordan didn’t know how the young man who became interested in his shelf-stacking was going to react to being handed a carton of orange juice. There was something about plugging the gaps in the cooler shelves that appealed to Jack Ryan though.
For the next 30 minutes, Jordan and Jack Ryan were a cooler restocking duo. It took patience for Jordan to work with Jack Ryan, but he could see how much it was pleasing the young autistic man.
It was together that Jordan and Jack Ryan worked, with the store employee handing the customer the cartons to fill up the cooler with. They spent the next half an hour just quietly filling up the cooler.
Jordan was quite happy to allow Jack Ryan the opportunity to see a part of the grocery store business he might have never seen before. He remained alongside Jack Ryan the entire time, handing him cartons of OJ and clearing space in the cooler, so his new friend had somewhere to put them.
Taking a video
Jack Ryan’s dad was accompanying his son around the grocery store that day and was amazed at what he was seeing from Jordan. It was a very compassionate gesture from Jordan, who really didn’t have to give his son any time at all.
To remember the moment, Jack Ryan’s father took out his phone and started to film his son working alongside Jordan. This sweet exchange was something he wanted to remember forever, plus he could show Jack Ryan how he was helping in the store at a later date.
Going out is hard
For some people who suffer from autism, it can be difficult going outside. Jack Ryan’s father, thought the moment was so special he wanted his whole family to see it. The sheer amount of people you can run into at a grocery store can make interactions tough for people with autism, but people like Jordan make it much easier.
Thanks to the kindness shown by Jordan, Jack Ryan was put at ease and got to experience something new at Rouses Market that day.
Posting to social media
Jack Ryan’s sister, Delaney, posted the video of her brother and Jordan stacking the shelves at the grocery store. It didn’t take long for the post to go viral, and soon everyone knew all about Jordan and Jack Ryan’s time stacking the shelves.
The story was so heartwarming because of the kindness shown by Jordan. In the video, Jordan tells Jack Ryan’s father that he no longer goes to school, but he’s hoping to get back there one day.
Although he has been out of school for a while, Jordan has ambitions to get back into learning soon. Jordan’s plans are to go back to school whenever he can and train to become an elementary school math teacher.
The grocery store employee feels as though its something he could do after tutoring people in high school. He found it very fun to help others and judging by his work with Jack Ryan, it is something that also comes pretty naturally to him.
Giving Jack Ryan’s family some memories
In Delaney’s post about Jordan and Jack Ryan, she praised the store employee for his actions. Delaney addressed the fact that going to the grocery store can be difficult for Jack Ryan due to his autism.
She said that Jordan could have just ignored her brother or could have made some sort of excuse to say Jack Ryan couldn’t help. That wasn’t what Jordan chose to do though, and his experience of helping people in high school kicked in at the grocery store.
Having his moment
Thanks to Jordan’s actions, Delaney said that her brother was allowed to “have his moment.” That moment was going to be something that Jack Ryan’s entire family would never forget as they got to see what life would be like if he got a job.
This proved to Jack Ryan’s family that working wasn’t out of the question for him, it would just be a case of finding the right role. Putting those orange juice cartons into the cooler really did give Jack Ryan some satisfaction on that trip to Rouses Market.
Watching a miracle in action
In the video, Jack Ryan’s father said seeing his son working at the grocery store was like “watching a miracle in action.” Delaney noted that seeing Jack Ryan putting the orange juice cartons into the cooler might seem like nothing to most people, but for her and her family, it was big.
Jack Ryan’s family might never have expected to see him in a working environment in his lifetime, but this just proved he was able.
When Delaney created her social media post, she made sure to praise Jordan for the kind thing he did in Rouses Market that day. She wanted the world to know about his kind act and described Jordan as a “stand up young man.”
It wasn’t enough to just praise Jordan though, and Delaney did something amazing back for the young store employee. Jordan had said he wanted to go back to school in the video and Delaney did something to try and make that happen.
Sending him to school
Jordan was unable to go to college after he finished high school and after two years out he still didn’t look like he was going to make it. In her Facebook post, Delaney also sent a link to a GoFundMe page that had been set up specifically for Jordan.
It was titled, “Send Jordan from Rouses to school,” and the goal was simple. Raise enough money so that Jordan could finally get back to school and achieve the dreams he had for himself.
Setting a big target
Higher education is not cheap, and it was going to take a lot of cash to get Jordan to college. Delaney set the target of $120,000 for Jordan, and figured that would be enough for him if people were generous enough to donate.
The initial Facebook post has been shared and commented on thousands of times, so there were plenty of eyes on the heartwarming story. Hitting ‘Like’ on social media is one thing, but would people be feeling good enough after reading the story to donate to Jordan’s cause?
With such a huge target it might have seemed unachievable, especially to Jordan who would have really hoped he could get the money. Amazingly the target was not only met, but the total has continued to grow in the months since it was first created.
The “Send Jordan from Rouses to school” fund has grown to over $134K. With this much money in the pot already, Jordan can look forward to choosing from lots of schools all over the United States.
In the GoFundMe post, Delaney took this opportunity to thank Jordan for everything he did for her brother. She said that thanks to his autism, he can often become fixated on things, and on that day it was Jordan’s shelf stacking.
Delaney said that the smile on Jack Ryan’s face that day said all the words that he couldn’t. Jack Ryan’s sister added that her family would never forget what Jordan did and that whatever he chooses to do in life, “he will excel!”
Sticking with Rouses
Although the money came flooding in for Jordan, he said that he still had every intention to continue working at Rouses Market. The money that was raised will go toward his education, but it seems Jordan’s work ethic will remain the same.
Despite the fact that a large portion of his tuition can be paid off with the money raised, Jordan wants to keep on working. The money won’t pay for everything, so he’ll still need some money coming in.
A tidal wave
Jordan’s act of kindness touched many people, and after just one day of the GoFundMe page going live, the donations came flooding in. In only 24 hours there had been over 1,000 donations, and the total had already skyrocketed to over $50,000.
People from Baton Rouge were donating, but so too were people from all over the world. Donations were coming in from all over the United States and even as far away as Bangkok.
Even more kindness
The money raised to send Jordan back to school was just the start though, and when a local credit union heard the story, they wanted to help. To make sure Jordan had some transport to get him to and from college, the trade union decided to give him an extra special gift.
Jordan was donated a car, which was not only going to help him out but also his family. Although the car was being given to Jordan, his family picked it up for the young grocery store employee.
After the story went global, Jack Ryan’s high school, Central High School, held their convocation. Jordan was honored at the ceremony, which took place at the Greenwell Baptist Church.
During the ceremony, Baton Rouge Community College extended an open invitation to Jordan, which the young man said, “would be awesome for me.” At least Jordan knows that there is one school interested in taking him whenever he decides it’s time to study to become a teacher.
Staying close to home
Jordan was very appreciative of the open invitation given to him by Baton Rouge Community College. He said that being able to attend that school would really open things up for him. Jordan wants to remain working at Rouses Market, so going to Baton Rouge Community College would allow him to do that.
He was happy he could stay close to home and just remain in the Baton Rouge area thanks to the offer from the community college.
Jack Ryan’s job offer
The good offers weren’t just coming in for Jordan though, and Jack Ryan’s efforts in Rouses Market didn’t go unnoticed. The grocery store reached out to Jack Ryan to offer him a job after seeing what he could do when stacking shelves.
It wasn’t just Jordan’s life that was being changed forever as Jack Ryan was finding opportunities coming his way too. Jack Ryan’s fixation that day on the orange juice cartons changed more than one life after Jordan was willing to let him help out.
Starting a discussion
Delaney said that what Jordan did for her brother had helped to open up a discussion about inclusion in the workplace. She said Jordan’s actions had helped open up a debate about the inclusion of disabled people as members of the workforce.
Delaney concluded that she hoped Jordan and Jack Ryan’s story helped to inspire other people who are different. Jordan’s generosity with his time on that day was appreciated not only by Jack Ryan’s family, but by many people all over the world.