Ryan Malhotra collects business cards from every West Shore car dealership he visits with his educational assistant Elise Pastro.

Honing his social graces

Malhotra, an 11-year-old Lakewood elementary school student, has a passion for cars.

Ryan Malhotra and his educational assistant Elise Pastro are frequent flyers of the multitude of car dealerships on the West Shore.

Malhotra, an 11-year-old Lakewood elementary school student, has a passion for cars, something his educational assistant utilizes to develop new social skills.

“He has always loved cars,” Pastro said. “I am just helping him learn by feeding his passion.”

For three years Pastro has worked with Malhotra, a boy she describes as special needs with behaviour interventions. The two also worked together three days a week during summer break.

She helps him with his school work and with socializing: helping read social cues and practising making eye contact when he speaks to others.

“One of my goals with Ryan is to work myself out of a job,” Pastro said. During the summer she would get Ryan and take him around to pick up his friends. “I would wait in the car and he would go up to the friend’s house, ring the bell and bring them back to the car,” Pastro explained.

Then they would drive to a dealership and Malhotra would approach a salesperson, introduce himself and his friends and ask to sit in vehicles. They also liked to pretend to race.

“We never called ahead, we’d just show up,” Pastro said, adding most businesses were happy to show Ryan and his friends around. Harold Youland, owner of Gold Star Auto Sales was pleased to see Malhotra’s passion for cars at such a young age.

“He asked if he could look inside the cars. They are all unlocked and I let him,” Youland said. “We have 50 cars on the lot and I think he sat in every one.”

Youland explained there is another special needs man in his 20s who frequents his business to sit in the cars.

“If a special needs kid has a passion for music you’d take them to a music store or a concert,” Youland said. “Taking Ryan to the dealership is the same thing.”

Before leaving each business Malhotra would thank the salesperson and ask for a business card. He remembers each of them by name. They’re keen on him too.

Alpine Auto donated a party bus ride as a birthday surprise for the business’s most frequent young visitor last week.

“I like to do stuff like this,” said Trevere Lefeuvre, an Alpine employee who volunteered to drive the bus. “Ryan loves cars and he’s a special kid. I’ve seen him at the lot two or three times. Most kids only come when their parents are buying a car.”

 

Just Posted

SD61 to install new water fountains over lead concerns

They’re installing 350 new water fountains in local schools due to concerns over elevated levels of lead in the water system

West Shore firefighters band together to support men’s health

More than $8,200 raised for Movember campaign

Holiday gift wrapping tips and tricks

Streamline your process to avoid the hassle

Omnibus zoning bylaw sent for revisions to prevent blanket upzoning in downtown Victoria

More than 10 downtown properties identified by Downtown Residents Association

UPDATE: Four vehicle crash on Sooke Road snarls traffic in Colwood

Sooke Road reopens to traffic in both direction

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

Shelbourne Community Kitchen vies for $20,000 prize

Epicure Foundation, based in North Saanich, will give five groups $20,000 each

Woman in Nanaimo accidentally hands over diamond ring with spare change

Incident happened Wednesday at about 7 p.m. at parking lot near Nanaimo’s boardwalk

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Optimistic Victoria whale watching company invests in new vessel

Banner 2017 tourist season helps Prince of Whales decide to boost service

Victoria cycling advocate makes pitch lor lower speeds on local roads

Group points to evidence suggesting 30 km/h speed limit would save money, lives

Most Read