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When a hotel employee exchanged card tricks with a young guest, he had no idea just how much the kind gesture would mean to the boy and his family.
Kahlief Hill, 39, was busy working at the front desk of a Pennsylvania Hampton Inn when he looked up to see 13-year-old Colin Haas standing in front of him, asking Hill if he wanted to see a card trick.
Without hesitation, Hill agreed and even showed Colin some of tricks of his own, all while juggling his front-desk duties.
What Hill didn’t know is that Colin has autism and uses card tricks to “help quiet and focus his brain and keep his hands busy,” according to his mother, Megan Griffin Haas of Frackville, Pennsylvania.
She told TODAY Parents, “I always appreciate anybody that takes the time for anybody, but my son especially because (of) losing his dad and living with only me and his sister, he misses interacting with other males,” says Haas, explaining that Colin's father died of a brain aneurysm in 2014.
The following night, when the family came back to the hotel after dinner, Hill was on shift again. He asked Colin if he wanted to come and practice more card tricks.
“Colin ran to the room and got his cards,” Haas said.
Haas shared a photo of the sweet moment on Facebook, saying in part: “I love and live for feel-good moments like this. It is so easy to be kind, yet seems to be such a rare occurrence these days.”
The photo has since gone viral and Haas has received lots of praise and comments from other parents who have children with autism.
One said: "Such a simple gesture and very easy during a busy day to overlook. Thank you for sharing. My oldest was diagnosed with ASD so I truly get how amazing this is."
After Hill saw the Facebook post, which he said made him cry, he messaged Haas and thanked her for posting it. He told her he was only doing his job, adding, "That’s why I’m there, to help."
Haas said what struck her was that Hill didn’t know anything about the family or Colin’s history. “He just did what he did because that’s what he would do with anyone.”
Colin and Hill have plans to meet up again soon. They are going to attend an Autism Awareness event together, where Colin will be Hill's guest.