A single mother of a 5-year-old boy with autism has hailed a stranger a “hero” after he compassionately stepped in when her son began to have a meltdown on a train.
Gayna Pealling was on a train ride with her son, Jack, to Farnborough, England when a 21-year-old young man, Daniel Ball, from Farringdon helped calm down Jack’s outbursts, BBC News reported.
Ball distracted Jack from suffering from a sensory overload.
The mother touched by his kindness, posted images on Facebook of Ball playing with Jack.
In a bid to thank the young man further, Pealling submitted the photos and her comments to another Facebook page called “Spotted: London.”
“My son has ADHD and autism. Today my son had a melt down n this amazing human being called Dan helped me with my son n my daughter,” she wrote.
“He calmed my son down n stopped him from having a break down. He doesn’t understand how much he truly came to my rescue on the Winchester train service… I am truly grateful to Dan u are my hero n i thank u with all my heart as it was a long journey home,” Pealling added.
The post went viral, garnering over 139,000 reactions on Facebook and over 30,000 shares as of Friday, Oct. 6.
As the photo spread online, Ball saw the post and was touched by the response to his act of kindness. He then created a JustGiving fundraiser for the National Autistic Society.
“Recently, a post on Facebook made me realise just how many people’s lives are affected by Autism–whether it’s having it themselves or supporting a family member,” Dan wrote on the JustGiving page. As of Oct. 6, the fundraiser had received £1,347.20 in donations.
“If I didn’t have Dan that journey would have been a nightmare,” Gayna told The Standard. “When an autistic child has a meltdown it is hard.”
Her son was swearing and got extreme. She apologised and said,”he has ADHD and autism and please bear with me”, but people were looking at her.
“Jack started hitting me and my daughter because that’s what he does. Dan basically sat next to them and said ‘take your hot chocolate and sit there’ and ‘I’ve got it all under control,'” she said.
“For around 50 minutes to an hour he was drawing and interacting with them and for the first time in my life I could sit and have an easy journey and enjoy a hot drink.”
However, his acts of kindness did not stop there. Now, Ball has created a new campaign with his mum, called Come To My Rescue.
Under the Facebook post, Ball’s mother commented stating how proud she was of her son.
“I’ve just seen this. I’m Dan’s mum and yes, I am very proud of him. I’m sure he had no idea that it was a big deal, and was just trying to help (and probably had a great time playing with the children!). Thank you for all the lovely comments that have been made,” Barbara Ball wrote.