There are things that seem so small to some, but mean the world to someone else. In this strange, unprecedented time of the pandemic, someone from a place we all know understood the importance of those small things. 

Major change is never easy. That's just what the Murphey family's going through now, including mom Amy and boys, Jamie and David. 

"So, they are seven-year-old twins," said Amy. "Very smart. Right before three, they were both diagnosed with autism."

The Murpheys just moved to Eagleville. That's meant so many new things to take in. 

"They've been very much on edge," said Amy. "They've never known anything other than our home in Murfreesboro. It's been very nerve-wracking. Any kind of change is difficult."

Amy had a plan to put David at ease. She told him after the move, she'd go to the Nashville Zoo and buy him some of the little toy animals from the gift shop.

The pandemic hit, the zoo closed, and Amy couldn't get those little animals for David. 

"He remembers everything, so if you make an idle promise, he will absolutely hold you to that," said Amy.

Then, someone stepped up. Amy's calls to the zoo reached a zoo manager named Brent Durham. 

"I really wanted to help her meet that promise to her son," Brent told us. "My brother-in-law has an autistic child. I've experienced trying to meet the needs of an autistic child."

Brent got a pack of animals and personally drove them to Amy.

"I was shocked," said Amy.

Now, David is in his new home with his animals.

"I let him know the 'zoo man' brought him his toys because the zoo man knew he really needed them at his new house," smiled Amy. "It means everything to [David]. There are good people out there. [Brent] got a pack of toys for my kid. It just blew me away."

Though major change is never an easy thing, some people help us through it. Now, the 'zoo man' is giving a message to David. 

"David, you are one special young man," said Brent. "I just wish you all the happiness in the world. I can't wait to see you back here at the zoo."

The Nashville Zoo is now back open and works with Vanderbilt to give people with autism a good experience.

The zoo offers cards with a visual schedule that can help map out a trip. Visitors can also get a map that will say the places that have significant sounds and smells. Zoo officials tell News4 these efforts are meant to help those with autism structure their visit. 

For more on the zoo's efforts to work with people with autism, visit

Amy Murphey shares the stories of her boys on her Facebook page; Life with Twins, Autism, and Clubfoot is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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