Autistic Students With Teachers And Aides Get Surprise Treat

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When five classes of autistic students along with their teachers and other staff went out to lunch, they knew it was a special occasion. But they hadn't yet learned just how special.

Twenty-five students and 21 staff members were celebrating both Cinco de Mayo a day late and National Teacher Appreciation Day at the Jose Tejas Restaurant in Woodbridge, NJ. After their meal, the manager came over and said that an anonymous person paid the $485 tab, according to and staff ate quesadillas, chips and salsa, tacos, and chicken fingers, according to the New York Daily News. Taking students on trips is an important part of the curriculum because it helps them learn about different social settings. Everyone had brought money to pay for their meals, when they were left speechless, according to the report.

"At the end of our meal, the manager came over and told us our entire $485 bill was paid for by a fellow patron, and she chooses to remain anonymous because she told the manager she has a grandchild with special needs. ... She wanted to show her appreciation to us on Teacher Appreciation Day," said teacher Jeannette Gruskowski, who has worked at the school since 2005.

"Nobody's ever done such a generous, anonymous thing like that," Gruskowski said. The students were told they could use the money for another trip and a letter describing the generous gift went home to their parents.

The staff and students don't have a way to directly thank their anonymous benefactor, so they did the next best thing. They put together a giant thank you letter addressed to "Dear Kindhearted Samaritan" and hoped to hang it at the restaurant in case the person returned and was able to see it. Gruskowski told MyCentralJersey, "We'd like to thank her and give her a hug and let her know how much it meant."
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