When you wander the aisles of a big-box hardware store, you can hunt up everything from garden gear to grills to paint. What you might not expect is that in the appliance section, you can also find a jumbo-sized package of goodwill and compassion.
Lowe’s may be a hardware giant, but it seems they have a soft spot when it comes to one very special Missouri 4-year-old.
Like most children his age, Jaxon Maples is bright and inquisitive. He also has autism.
From an early age, Jaxon has been drawn by the language of mechanical objects. The whir of a fan, the thrum of a washing machine, and the tumbling cadence of the dryer were among his favorite fascinations.
It’s not surprising that when Jaxon discovered the appliance section at the local Lowe’s store on a family visit, it was as if he’d stepped into his own personal wonderland.
Jaxon’s mom, Shauna Rippee, reveals her son’s love for the hardware store has turned out to be something of a godsend.
“Lowe’s has been the center of our world, because our world is Jaxon,” she told the Springfield News Leader. “When you have a child who is on the spectrum, he can have massive meltdowns. We are so thankful that we know how to calm him down before it gets into a really bad situation. We just get in the car and go to Lowe’s.”
But it turns out, Jaxon’s adoration isn’t a one-way love affair.
When Rippee contacted Lowe’s head office to explain her son’s unique situation and ask if they might send him one of their signature associate vests, the generous response went far beyond her expectations.
With corporate’s blessing, the South Springfield Lowe’s not only got Jaxon a vest, they made him an honorary associate and gifted him with a bounty of child-friendly branded merchandise.
“My team was really inspired by his story and his connection to Lowe’s,” store manager Marty Davis said. “Jaxon’s visit made our team’s day and brought several associates to tears.”
They also presented the boy with a Lowe’s football signed by our team, wooden DIY kits, and a small desk fan to help keep Jaxon calm.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed Jaxon’s visits to some degree, he knows he’ll always be welcomed to his favorite place with open arms and spinning appliances.
The extraordinary bond between a child with special needs and a hardware giant that truly cares is a win/win for everyone. Not only does he get to hang out in his happy place, it’s a good bet Lowe’s has earned a customer for life.