In the UK, a mother praised a passerby for stepping in to calm and prevent her autistic son from having a meltdown while they were out for a walk.
Natalie Fernando, 44, was walking along the seafront in Southend-on-Sea with her autistic son Rudy, 5, when he became irritated for having to turn around, something he struggles with.
The 44-year-old mom said Rudy lied down on the floor and strangers kept staring and making rude comments to them despite apologizing for her son when he started making loud noises.
But a man named Ian stopped to ask if everything was alright before lying on the floor with Rudy and walked them back to their car.
“I wish there were more of this man around and I am beyond thankful,” Natalie posted on her Facebook page: Better to be Different.
Natalie went on to explain that she took her son for a walk to ‘express himself outdoors’, and only minutes before Ian arrived, strangers were staring and frowning at them because Rudy is making loud noises.
Natalie said in the post that Rudy loves to walk but hates to turn around because if he does, it will lead to a meltdown.
“My son loves to walk, but he hates to turn around and walk back, we usually try to walk in a circuit to avoid this but on his favorite walk with the boats we have no choice but to turn back,” she wrote. “This will often lead to a meltdown, one which I can normally handle, but on the back of two weeks out of school today was too much for him and me.”
Natalie added that Ian initially assumed that Rudy was having a tantrum and asked him his name, when the boy did not respond properly, she explained that her son couldn’t really understand because of his autism.
The mother then said that the ‘hero’ started to lie down on the floor with her son and talked with them both until Rudy was able to walk back to their car.
“This man, my hero this morning saw my son on the floor and like any other person would assume that he was having a tantrum,” Natalie wrote.
“He asked my little Roo what his name was and when I explained he didn’t really understand and that he is autistic and has a host of other challenges making this part of the walk difficult he said, that’s cool, I’ll lay down with him”.
“He then proceeded to chat with us whilst walking back to the car,” Natalie wrote. “I am so thankful for this chap Ian, I will not forget his kindness.”
Natalie also encouraged other people not to judge if they see a parent struggling with their child and take the time to ask if they are OK.
“We’re all walking our own path and navigating the journey the best we can, sometimes it takes a moment of kindness from a complete stranger to completely change your day,” she wrote. “Thanks, Ian from Southend Sea Front, you truly are a kind man.”