Autistic Elf

Autistic Elf

I was in my office reviewing the changes in production lines for next Christmas when Ms. Claus strolled in with a tray in her hands. “Have some time to share a cookie and hot cocoa with me?”

“Definitely,” I said and helped my wife set the platter on the table.

As we sat on the couch munching on cookies, there was a knock on the door.

“Santa,” Bernard called out as he entered, “the train production line has a problem with the updates we made.”

Looking at my wife, I began, “I hope you don’t mind . . .”

“Go,” my wife interrupted. “I understand. We can have our snack when you’re finished.”

“Thanks! I won’t be long.”

Bernard and I hurried in the direction of the workshop and saw Tracks, the elf in charge, waiting for us. “This doesn’t look good,” I mumbled.

“Thanks for coming so quickly,” Tracks said as he steered us inside and down the aisle. “The line was only running a few minutes when all of a sudden there was a loud thud. Then the workers saw smoke when the line came to a complete stop.”

As we approached, I noticed all the elves from the workshop standing by the production line except for one. I nodded toward him and asked Tracks, “Is there a problem with Jasper that he’s by himself?”

“That’s pretty normal. The other elves haven’t figured out how to interact with an autistic elf yet.”

When Ms. Claus and I decided to bring Jasper to the North Pole several months ago, we felt certain that the elves would help him adjust. Now I wasn’t so sure.

“Santa, are you listening?” Bernard stared at me impatiently. “What are we going to do about the line?”

“Sorry. I was thinking about something else. Go ahead, you were saying?” I listened as Bernard and Tracks discussed the issue, but I could not take my eyes off of Jasper. He was playing with a popper and spinner while looking all over the workshop.

“I think we need an elf that has an eye for detail, can think creatively, and deals well with visual tasks,” Bernard stated. “What do you think about bringing Manny in from maintenance to fix it?”

“Yeah, Manny would be good,” Tracks responded. “Should I call him to come over?”

Rubbing my beard, I turned and gazed at Bernard and Tracks. “Wait a minute. If I remember correctly, part of Jasper’s skill set was his eye for detail. Let him have a look at it first.”

“What? Why?!” Bernard demanded.

“First of all, we are upgrading equipment and not in the middle of the Christmas rush, so it’s not urgent. Second, Jasper has the skills needed to analyze and fix it. Tracks, ask him to come over here.” I glared at Bernard and added, “It’s time Jasper proved himself, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, I get it, but are you sure about this, Santa?” Bernard whispered.

I put my arm around his shoulders. “Jasper does struggle with social interactions, and has a unique way of seeing the world we live in,” I explained. “But his focus on certain tasks, his eye for detail, and his creative thinking may be just the thing we need here.”

When Jasper arrived, I explained the problem and asked the young elf if he’d like to try and fix it. His face was anxious as he paced back and forth while muttering. After a couple of minutes, he took a deep breath. “I can try.”

Walking over to the line, Jasper examined the layout. Then he began tightening the gears and adjusting the wires.

All the elves in the workshop watched in amazement as Jasper worked to solve the problem. When it was fixed, he smiled, and walked back to his usual work station.

Bernard and Tracks gave me a surprised look as if to ask ‘What now?’

“Let’s fire this line up and see what it can do,” I yelled and stood back to watch the machinery groan into action.

I noticed how the train line increased its speed and was working more smoothly than it had before. The elves cheered and went over to congratulate Jasper.

Tracks shook his head. “Amazing.  I’m not sure I would have done what you did, Santa.”

“Gotta trust that your workers know what to do. Jasper may be different, but he is a valuable member of your team.”

“I can see that now, and so do the others.” Tracks smiled and shook my hand. “Thanks Santa.”

I headed back to find Ms. Claus and share some hot cocoa and a cookie or two. When l strolled into my office, I explained what had happened at the train workshop with Jasper.

“So, do the elves have a new appreciation for him and his talents?” she asked.

“From the looks on their faces, I think they understand what Jasper can do. I bet they’ll soon learn how to talk with Jasper in a way that makes sense to him. When they embrace his routines and oddities with patience and understanding,” I explained, “then that team of elves will be humming like a well-oiled machine. No pun intended,” I laughed.

Anya chuckled and walked over to give me a big hug. “Santa, you always look for the good in anyone you meet. I wish children and adults everywhere would embrace the power of acceptance and the magic that comes from a different point of view!”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. Santa’s next story will be posted on Saturday March 16, 2024.  If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until the next time . . .

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Illustration from Pixabay

One Reply to “Autistic Elf”

  1. Awesome story, Santa!! We recently bought a “Mammoth” lego figure from BBL’s Gift shop. We opened it, and it was a “bunch” of tiny legos that we couldn’t begin to put together! I took it to our neighbor’s son, who has that type of “special focus” – he had it almost complete before I left, and walked it over later! We’d still be working on it (smile)!! Thanks again for another Great story!!

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