After a whirlwind trip to New York with her four kids, Adrian Wood was emotionally exhausted when she finally made it to the terminal at Newark Airport Tuesday. As she tells Babble, she had made the trip up from her home in North Carolina to visit Columbia Medical Center, where her youngest, 3-year-old Amos, had been taken for several assessments — one of which concluded he has autism.
To add to matters, their flight was delayed, which left Babble contributor Wood, the writer and voice behind the blog Tales of an Educated Debutante, looking for ways to entertain her four “rambunctious” children in the airport lobby. “I felt anything but fun in that moment, leaking quiet tears over the word autism,” Wood later wrote in a Facebook post.
But that’s when something heartwarming happened that lifted the mom’s spirits: She watched as her kids made friends with a sweet little boy who was playing nearby. A boy who was friendly and kind and absolutely charming. A boy who she would soon learn came from a very famous family with a very famous mother.
According to her Facebook post, the little boy was with his nanny and introduced himself as Egypt. Without missing a beat, he got down on the floor to play with her four kids and gleefully shared both his strawberries and race cars.
“Perplexed, he watched Amos and voiced that his own brother was two and in big boy pants,” Wood wrote. And that’s when she shared that Amos has autism. “I said [it] aloud, for the very first time,” she wrote, to which Egypt simply “shrugged his small shoulders, moved on quickly and asked my middle son to play war.”
Wood continued to watch them play, all crouched on the floor together, and laughed to herself as she overheard their humorous exchanges.
“I needed that chuckle and my children needed a diversion from a grieving mother,” wrote Wood. “One they don’t know so well and truthfully, nor do I.”
But before long, their flight had arrived and it was time to go. Wood snapped a photo of the happy little crew, who she says were all reluctant to part ways, and her son dug into her purse for a business card with her email and website address. He handed it to Egypt, who Wood says was “remiss to not have his own card.” Instead, he pulled out his iPad and happily showed his new friends a photo of his family.
“The plot thickened in a way I could not have imagined,” wrote Wood, “and I whispered to my children that their new friend with the big smile and kind heart was quite famous.”
Quite famous indeed — the photo revealed that “Egypt” is Egypt Dean, the son of producer Swizz Beatz and singer Alicia Keys.
Woods instantly recognized them both, and was impressed by how kind and humble the little boy was, despite growing up in extraordinary circumstances. And most of all, she was struck by how unexpectedly connected she felt to his mother, who suddenly seemed not so different than herself.
“I felt totally connected [to her],” Wood tells Babble. “I thought this child is just a child, no matter our background, all children like to play a game and speak what’s on their mind. [It’s] so fun to think celebrities are able to somehow raise typical kids amongst a life that is so atypical.”
Later that night, Wood sat down to pen a post to Alicia — from one mother to another — praising her son’s kindness.
“Dear Alicia,” the post began. “I quite like it when someone reaches out to share a compliment regarding my children and so, I’m extending the same courtesy to you. We mothers, no matter our background, try to instill kindness in our children. Like me, do you wonder if the endless instruction is sticking? Yours is sticking.”
“I don’t know you Alicia Keys, but I know the kind of mom you are and I see the kind of children you’re raising and though we live polar opposite lives, you’d be someone I would be honored to call a friend. And your son, Egypt? Please tell him thank you from the Wood family. His very self brightened our day.”
The post has since gone on to receive over 1.5K likes and hundreds of comments from Facebook users who were touched by the simple, yet heartwarming story.
“Fabulous! I envision her as a gem of a person, so I’m sure her son is, too!” wrote one user.
“I just love that our children are the best examples of how we as humans should love one another!” wrote another. “These are all children of two wonderful mothers who are raising fantastic human beings!”
Wood admits that before this week, she knew very little about Keys’ personal life. (“I didn’t even know she was married or had children,” she tells Babble.) All she did know was that she loved her music and her “no-makeup movement.”
And now she knows one thing more: Grammy awards aside, Keys is also just a mother, who not unlike Wood, is trying to raise good humans and hoping that when they go out into the world without her, they take her lessons with them.
So far, it seems they certainly have.More On