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A Wocket in His Pocket

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

By Paula Fulsom

“William, come on. We have to leave now!”

“Okay mom.”

“What do you have in your pocket?”

“I have a wocket in my pocket!”

“What? Never mind, go get in the car.”

A few days ago, maybe a week or so, my son claimed to have found a newly hatched bird on the ground in our yard. I tried to find someone to take it but had no luck. After debating what to do, I told my son to take it back outside and place it back where he had found the precious creature. I should have known better than to trust my Saint Francis to give up an animal in need of help.

It was the last morning of my son’s crisis intervention day treatment, and the clinicians were picking him up from my work at McDonalds. I was going to be late for my shift if we did not leave right away. I was a shift manager and luckily had a great store manager that let my son sit in the play place while waiting for his group to pick him up.

After getting him settled in the play place with his breakfast, I started my shift. Everything ws going as usual and I was on front counter to be able to keep an eye on my son. He was 12 and had been struggling with his Asperger’s (a form of Autism.) As I watched him go down the slide in the play place, I noticed him holding his left pocket protectively. This was not normal for my nonstop child. He got off the slide holding his pocket and went back to his food. That is when I saw him take a piece of hash brown and put it to his pocket. What does he have? Is all I was thinking as I made my way around the counter and across the lobby. I tried to act nonchalant but had a nervous air about myself. There was a mom and her two children sitting near him enjoying their own before school breakfast.

“What do you have?”

“Nothing mama.”

“You have something in your pocket.”

“Yeah, but I told you before we left the house.”

“What is it?” I hissed the words out now.

“I have a Wocket in my pocket!”

“William Ryan!”

He gently pulls something out of his pocket enclosed in both his little hands. As he opens his hands, the chirp sounds out. It was a baby bird. Not even old enough to fly but covered in feathers. My son had a bird in his pocket in my restaurant and now everyone could see it. I was astonished, baffled, and embarrassed. I thought for sure I was going to lose my job over this. My coworkers had came over to see what was going on.

“What are you going to do with it.” My boss, Nick asked me.

“I’m not sure, I guess take it outside and put it under a bush or tree.”

“It is so cute,” all the female coworkers cooed.

I took it outside and left it in the mulch near the building, hoping that it would be taken care of by nature in some way. Nick kept checking on it and William starting to get upset. He didn’t want his baby to get killed or eaten by a predator. Finally, my son’s group showed up to pick him up. After talking to the clinician, we decided that they would transport it to their facility and let it go in the woods. William was happy with this solution. We put the little feather head into a large cup and lidded it up tight.

Returning to my job, I worked the rest of my shift uneventfully, and retold the tale of my son’s wocket to all the crew as they heard of the commotion. As the end of my day was winding up, I happened to be in the back drive thru window. Shyly, my front counter crew member approached me. I finished with my customer and was told that my son was back from group. William and his clinician were in the play place waiting for me. They had the cup with them.

“You are joking, right?”

“No, and there are tons of kids in the play place.”

I duck into the office and look at the CCTV, I almost scream as I see the cup being held tightly by the clinician on a table with my son looking like he was begging to get it out. My headset was shoved to the poor crew member as I raced up front and beaconed for my son to come out of the play place to me at the counter.

“Why?” It was all I had to ask him.

“We didn’t go to the other site today, we stayed in the city.”

My hands covered my mouth in an attempt to silence the dread and aspiration coming out of me. “Bring it to me now!”

“Okay mama.”

Luckily one of my comanagers was able to get ahold of her mom who wanted to raise the little thing. We left the bird with her at the store.

Fast forward a week, my stepchildren are staying with us and it is a birthday weekend for our soon to be 1 year old and soon to be 12 year old daughters. William and my stepson, James are talking and suddenly James exclaimed. “You kept it alive the entire time?” I fast walk over and question the boys.

“William, how long did you have the bird?” I had thought about it before when the incident occurred.


“How long did you have it?”

James cuts in with, “He had told me about Sunday before we went back to mom’s house.”

“That was five days before he brought it out!” I almost fainted.

“How did you keep it alive and how in the world did I not know it was in the house for that long?”

“I feed it oatmeal and dug up worms for it. It was in the shoe box in my room covered by a blanket. I was a good mama bird to it. I miss my baby bird.”

My son is an amazingly smart and caring child despite all his struggles and difficulties. He has shown us love and compassion through his selfless acts in helping many creatures over the years now. He is truly a Saint Francis and animal whisperer.

Paula Melton Fulsom graduated cum laude from CVCC in 2021 with an Associates Degree in business administration. She is currently enrolled at the University of Lynchburg as a junior in the accounting program and works part-time at a small, local CPA firm.

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