Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Belle Tire Cares

Yesterday I had a comment on my blog from the Social Media Director of Belle Tire. My reaction to this was immediate laughter. I love the fact that they not only found my little blog, but cared enough to leave the following comment:

Hi Michelle,

I've been reading your blog for a while now. (I blog-search Belle Tire on a daily basis.)

Kate was right, Belle Tire's are only located in Michigan and Northern Ohio.

We're so sorry to read of your difficulties with Tire Man. I know that it must be stressful and we hate to have any part of it.

Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Kari McLeod
Social Media Coordinator, Belle Tire Distributors Inc.


A few weeks ago I googled "belle tire mascot" to see where I would show up on the google list. The answer is 5th. 5th! My husband had suggested that someone from Belle Tire would probably find the blog based on that to make sure I wasn't infringing on the copy write of their logo or something. What I particularly loved about Kari's comment is that they have been "following my blog for a while" which I had sort of already figured out from my traffic feed. At least I thought that was a possibility. I wondered if it was just to make sure I wasn't bashing them, and I have come to find out that "Belle Tire cares". To top it ALL off the Belle Tire logo is now prominently displayed as a "follower" of my blog! Good thing Daniel doesn't read my blog because if he had, he'd never come back to it with that logo there!

I love how the universe works because on the same day as this comment was left I brought Daniel to his usual therapy on Monday evenings. Oddly enough, the theme was, "what we are afraid of" Ok, that's just weird. Get this, his homework assignment is to "draw a picture of what you are afraid of". Please understand I said nothing to his therapist about this. Partially because last time I brought it up she wanted to do "private sessions" to focus on helping him get over his "Tire Man" fear. I didn't feel up to paying $50 a session and taking the time to get him there once a week. Plus I was pretty sure that after the first session he'd never want to see her again EVER because he'd be so pissed off. So I had put it on hold. For whatever reason I am now feeling it's time and I thought I'd try to tackle this myself. I am not a therapist of course but I sort of "play one in real life".

So we are sitting outside of the therapist's office last night and I was looking at the homework, which is due in two weeks, because of Memorial Day, and read the assignment. I purposefully said in front of the therapist, "oh look Daniel you need to draw a picture of what you are most afraid of".

Daniel says- "I'm afraid of thunder and lightening"

me- "no you are not" (he's picking something he isn't afraid of so he doesn't freak himself out.)

Daniel- (gives in slightly and says) "I'm afraid of bees."

me- "You're right Daniel, you are afraid of bees. It would be a great idea to draw a picture of a bee, then you could explain why you are afraid of them and what you do to get around that. But I'm thinking of something you are even MORE afraid of."

(guns? mass murderers? snakes? Nope, a smiling TIRE!)

Daniel- looks me in the eye and I'm thinking Belle Tire, Belle Tire (I swear he can read my thoughts sometimes) and his eyes get huge and round, hands fly up to his ears and he starts SCREAMING NO NO NO! DON'T SAY IT! (all in front of the therapist)

Therapist- "It's ok Daniel we won't talk about it, go to your happy place, think of something happy."

Daniel- (nervously starts singing) "Sing. . .. . sing a song, make it simple, to last your whole life long. . . . Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. . . just sing, sing a song . . .. (anyone?? Sesame street! That's his go to his happy place song that turns him around!)

Me- heavily praising him for turning himself around so quickly!!! Great job!! Singing is a strategy we've worked on to help him pull himself out of a downward spiral when he feels it coming and he DID IT ON HIS OWN! All part of the problem.

My reactions to all of this are so mixed. I find it fascinating that I had decided to start working on this and all of the stars have come together, seemingly, without me pushing them that way. It must be time. Oh how much easier some things in our lives would be without him fearing seeing that Tire man on tv or on a billboard. How silly to us, not to him, that this guy is so terrifying and standing in his way. How funny and sweet that the company is aware of it and would like to help in some way.

I'm assuming that changing the logo that they've had for what 20 or 30 years is not an option? LOL. I posted this on facebook and got many suggestions on how they could help. Some being jokes, of course. Here are some of the comments:

"I just hope they don't send you a big box of Belle Tire logo stuff!"

"The Belle Tire Man is VERY creepy. I do not react as strongly as Daniel, but that thing is definitely a boggart."

"A possible donor for the sensory room?"

This last one needs explaining. Two of our K - 4 elementary buildings are putting in "sensory rooms" for a place for children with sensory difficulties to escape to during the day. It can be a place to relax. We are hoping to add equipment that would be calming and help them get their neurological systems back in order. My son Zachary and the cub scout troops put efforts in the whole year to get this going. They raised over $800.00 to donate to the school to help this dream become a reality. People donated a lot of time and effort. We also used it as a way to teach the cub scouts about autism with our theme being "How to be a friend to someone with autism". It was a fantastic idea! How wonderful for the boys to give something direct to their school. A friend of mine and I were laughing about the donor idea saying, "wouldn't it just be the cherry on the sundae if Belle Tire would donate money for the sensory room in behalf of Daniel?? Now that would be full circle.

While I do laugh at this whole crazy scenario it is partially out of the feeling that comes over me sometimes of "how did I get here?" Could I ever have imagined that my number one job at one point would be trying to rid the trauma of a logo? That I would spend years helping Daniel master the skills of bike riding? That I would constantly have to try to put myself in his shoes to see what he sees to try to help him move to the next level? That part of my "job" would be committing myself to families and be their representative in our school district and beyond (more on this later)?


Amy said...

Michelle - I am not sure how you or I got "here" but here we are. I'm glad that we are in this together. I would be happy to help you draft a letter to Belle Tire, since I am the one who immediately thought, "donor!" Let me know.

Kate said...

I am flattered they were sweet enough to respond and try to help!

Mama Mara said...

I love that Belle Tire contacted you! And I hope the Boggart therapy goes well. You are a very cool mom!

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

That's pretty cool of them to contact you. Definitely impressive. And the possibility of them donating to the sensory room is a great idea!