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Mother Speechless After Handyman Builds Her ‘Gentle Giant’ Autistic Son Custom Swing Set

By Tiffany Meier

A 6-foot-10 “gentle giant” with nonverbal autism was left distraught after outgrowing his swing set until a kind stranger agreed to help.

Cobey Thomas, a 23-year-old from Tennessee, might not be able to talk because of his nonverbal autism but he has a golden smile, especially after spending some time on the swing, reported WBIR.

“Everyday, I mean he’s out here five, ten times a day,” his mother, Jennifer Thomas, told WBIR. She said he swings at all hours, in all weather conditions, “at night, in the morning, rain or shine, and as soon as he gets off of it there’s an immediate calm.”

“We always had a big swing set in the backyard, or we’d go to the park … Cobey had no interest in sitting still,” his mother told CBS News.

However, at 6-foot-10 and weighing 200 pounds, he soon became too big for most swings.

Cobey Thomas graduated high school in 2018 but towards the end of his last year there, his mother noticed he started coming home with injuries.

“He would come home and there would actually be blood on his blue jeans,” Jennifer said. “He’s nonverbal, so he couldn’t tell me what was wrong, but I could kind of tell.”

Jennifer had a theory as to how her son was sustaining his injuries. However, it wasn’t until she saw him try to swing at a park that her theories were confirmed—he was too big for the swings.

When she told her son he couldn’t swing anymore as he would get hurt, he was devastated. Because he is autistic, Cobey Thomas doesn’t deal well with change, his mother told CBS News.

However, not being able to swing was also having negative side effects on Cobey Thomas, such as the inability to sleep. Swinging has beneficial effects, especially for autistic children, such as helping them calm down, rebalancing the brain, and helping them sleep well.

No rain, no cold can keep this guy from doing what he loves. Mom is freeeeezing. ????#autismlife #imold #worthit

Jenifer Bright Thomas 发布于 2019年2月12日周二

Jennifer knew she had to do something and so she began to call “every contractor and handyman she could, hoping one would be willing to build her a custom swing-set.”

However, she said when they heard about her plight, they would all turn her down.

“I’d say, ‘Well, he’s 6’10”, 200 pounds, he functions on maybe a 3-year-old level,'” Jennifer told CBS News. “They’d go, ‘Oh heck no.'”

However, one day, a friend recommended Adam Ellison, a contractor at Mr. Handyman.

Jennifer told CBS News she expected him to turn her down like everyone else, but “he was out here the next day.”

"Gentle giant" with nonverbal autism gets gift from stranger

When this "gentle giant" with nonverbal autism outgrew his beloved swing set, a handyman stepped in to build him a new one – for free ❤️️ https://cbsn.ws/2UhWtkO

CBS News 发布于 2019年3月28日周四

Ellison and an engineer immediately set out to work: measuring Cobey Thomas and figuring out the proportions.

After a few days of building, the swing set was ready. As it was around Christmas time, Ellison’s team put a huge red bow on it.

“I’ll never forget the day,” Jennifer said. “I had this moment of bliss … but then it was over.” She told CBS News she figured the swing set would cost a fortune.

However, when she asked Ellison, he just said, “Merry Christmas.”

#mrhandyman2457 #exterior #exteriorhome #swing #diy #carpentry #christmasbuild #christmasswing #bigredbow #handyman #knoxvilleTN #knoxville #865 #37919

Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville 发布于 2019年1月2日周三

Ellison later told WBIR of Cobey Thomas and the swing project and why he did the job free of charge, “His size and his love for swinging and how it helps him mentally and physically and we got excited to give back to someone.”

Jennifer said Ellison’s actions were “just amazing … he restored my faith, let’s put it that way.”

Jennifer Thomas told CBS News seeing her son be able to swing again and the happiness it brought was a moment she’d never forget. “He got on it and he’s not been off,” she said.

She added that as Autism Awareness Month is coming up in April, she’s hoping the story will help spread awareness of autism in adults.

“Many people with autism get left behind,” she told CBS News. “I hope we can concentrate a little more on the adults.”