By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — The family of a man with autism is showing the world that Trussville and the people in the city put love before everything else.
Althea Miller said a neighbor blessed her brother with a big surprise. The neighbor in the Cahaba Project area gifted Jesse Miller with a new bicycle.
“Not only did it bless him, but it blessed me and my family as well,” Althea Miller posted on Facebook. “To know that someone went out of their way to bring a smile to his face and make his day, brought tears to our eyes.”
His sister said social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for Jesse Miller, so riding his bike has been an outlet for him to exercise and make connections within the community, while social distancing.
Althea Miller said her brother was very excited to get the new bike. She said her brother has a big heart and loves to meet people and make friends.
“If you meet him once, he will remember you forever!” she said. “Even if your encounters are few and far between, he will always remember you and greet you by name in passing.”
With the current social climate, Althea Miller said the random act of kindness came at a great time.
“For me, it was symbolic – a peace of mind knowing that our community is so much bigger than what’s going on in world,” she explained. “I’m so thankful to God for putting people like you [the person who gifted the bike] in our lives as a reminder that there are still great people around that choose LOVE over EVERYTHING!”
After posting the experience on Facebook, Althea Miller said she was surprised and uplifted by the reaction. She hopes people get to know Jesse Miller by his story. She said her family has been concerned about his safety but seeing how people in Trussville support him has comforted them.
“With Jay loving people so much and with his unique way of displaying this, our fear is that people wouldn’t know how to interpret it,” Althea Miller said. “The added melanin in his skin wouldn’t provide much aid in the situation. So, in an effort to protect him, I hope this post is also being used as an opportunity to create awareness of autism and so my community will be able to speak up for him if we aren’t around.”
The family has lived in Trussville since 2004. They are thankful for the Trussville community accepting Jesse with loving arms.
“This brings me so much more peace to know that people are aware and will be looking out for him,” said Althea Miller. “Exposure and familiarity to different cultures, disabilities, beliefs, religion, races, etc are so important for us to be able to provide a more inclusive community because our great city has become more diverse overall.”
So, if you see Jesse Miller on his bicycle, his family hopes you will take the time to say hello.
The family who gifted Jesse Miller with the bicycle wishes to remain anonymous.