Picture of Speedway McDonald’s worker helping boy with autism goes viral

Photo of Leif with TQ courtesy of Bonnie Kandel

Photo of Leif with TQ courtesy of Bonnie Kandel

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – A heartwarming story from Speedway is going viral. Bonnie Kandel’s 7-year-old son, Leif, has autism. She says he had been asking for a specific Teen Titans toy from McDonald’s for several weeks. “He is a picky eater and has a hard time letting things go when he gets fixated on something,” Kandel said.

They went to the restaurant to get a Happy Meal, but unfortunately the restaurant was out of that specific toy. They were now only giving out Batman toys. Kandel said Leif was devastated.

Kandel explained to the employees why the Teen Titans toy was so important. One of the employees, Ta’Qualliyia “TQ” Patterson, understood why it was so important that they find that toy.

The restaurant still had a kiosk with the Teen Titans toys, so TQ asked her manager if she could dismantle it to give Leif the toys.

“It took some convincing, I overheard, because this was not something they were supposed to do,” Kandel said.

But eventually, the manager agreed and TQ spent about 20 minutes dismantling the kiosk to get the toy for her son.

“He was overjoyed and played with them for hours!” Kandel said.

TQ is a 16-year-old senior at Ben Davis High School who’s worked at McDonald’s for about two years. She said giving Leif the toys made her happy.

“Seeing him excited and knowing that I made him smile, it made my day,” she said.

“TQ’s sweet and generous interaction with my son was a little glimmer of hope,” Kandel said. “All three of my children saw her express empathy and compassion. That’s worth more than any toy.”