April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, and across the globe, people are doing things to spread understanding. Nintendo, however, may have provided the most heartwarming story of the day — with the help of one dedicated parent. The story began nearly half a year ago, and the end comes with perfect timing.
Redditor littledinobug12 (who says she prefers to keep her real name private for her daughter’s privacy) first shared her story in October, when her 11-year-old daughter, who has autism, discovered her 3DS system no longer worked. This isn’t an unusual moment in parenting — devices break or get worn out, and parents are faced with deciding whether to replace the item or let it go. In the case of a child with autism, though, there are some additional difficulties.
While autism affects different children in different ways, one thing that is common to many people is that it makes accepting change much harder than for other children. For littledinobug’s daughter, this was the case, and she worried that her daughter would really struggle — her system was really special. It was a limited edition pink-and-white Pikachu system she’d gotten for her birthday, and she was very attached to it.
Contacting Nintendo, littledinobug12 learned that the device may not be repairable, and a replacement might be required. After explaining her daughter’s attachment to the device, she was assured that they’d keep the special faceplate — the part that made the 3DS unique.
She was warned, though, that there was a possibility the damage would prevent the faceplate from being transferable, so she waited and hoped.
“I was kind of saddened at the news, I asked them to please give me a call to let me know either way so I can prepare my daughter in case she gets a 3DS back that did not match the one she originally had. Autism is tricky that way and well, the disappointment usually results in a two hour meltdown.
“Usualy we just deal with the meltdown in stride, but this is one of those things that is extremely important to her. Usually we would have chalked it up to a natural consequence, but I felt something inside me, a nagging little mommy feelz that said that I should at least try to get the limited edition face plate saved.”
After about a week and a half, she heard from Nintendo again.
As feared, they couldn’t repair the device and would instead be sending her a refurbished model. They assured her they knew about her daughter’s autism, and would replace the faceplate on the new device with the special Pikachu one if possible — in fact, they were currently waiting for a pink-and-white refurbished device to show up so they could match the color and return the child a device just like the one she loved.
It was on World Autism Awareness Day that littledinobug12 received a package in the mail.
Would the device be the one her daughter hoped for, with the Pikachu faceplate? The box showed a plain pink-and-white system.
The people at Nintendo surely had no way of knowing the very special device would arrive on a day devoted to autism awareness, and the timing was surely pure coincidence. Still, it was a coincidence that was poignant and precious, and today, one little girl is very happy that Nintendo listened up and took her needs into account.
We often hear the stories of big business getting customer service issues wrong. This is one beautiful happy ending in which Nintendo got one customer service case perfectly right — and on World Autism Awareness Day, did exactly the right thing for one little girl with autism.
[Photos via littledinobug12]