GAINESVILLE, Va. — Some Centreville Trader Joe's employees gave a 10-year-old boy a gift to thank him for his polite conversation. They didn't know how much it would mean to his family.
Jack Dickens likes to ask a lot of questions -- from, "Could I have a zip line for Christmas?" to "What kind of clouds are they?"
“This is a fairly new development," his mom, Caroline Dickens said. "Wondered for a long time if we'd ever hear him have a conversation."
The conversation came two weeks ago right when Caroline Dickens needed it during one of their weekly shopping trips to Trader Joe's.
“I love going on dates with my mom," Jack said.
His mom said that as they went through the checkout at the Centreville Trader Joe's, Jack talked to the cashier for a solid eight minutes, asking question after question.
"The gentleman who was checking us out... was so lovely and gracious," she said.
Another employee overheard the exchange and stopped Jack and his mom as they were leaving the store.
“I was so nice to them. And like one employee gave me $10, and they gave me a chocolate orange," Jack said.
It was fruit for his labor.
“Jack has worked his entire life to overcome a speech delay," Caroline said. "Instead of going to playdates and birthday parties, he was going to speech therapy.”
She had often asked herself when they'd hear the payoff, searching for signs that they were making progress.
“To have someone who didn't even know his background, but recognized, you know that he was an engaging lovely child was just really, really special," she said, choking up.
With one simple exchange, she's no longer questioning if he'll find his voice.