Special Needs Now

The Dad of This Girl With Autism Can't Believe What Police Did After Her Public Meltdown

Two police officers surprised a dad and his autistic daughter with this act of kindness.

Robert Davies, a dad from the U.K. was shopping with his autistic daughter, Cerys Lily, when she saw a new Finding Dory lunch bag in a store. Unfortunately, the bag wasn't available until the following day, and Cerys Lily grew upset. When her frustration turned into a full-scale meltdown, her dad did what I've done so many times with my own young autistic son—try to deescalate the situation, block his aggressive behavior, and then get him safely to the car and then home.

Unlike this dad, however, I've never had police meet me at my house, worried about me "putting a child into the car against her will," which is how Davies retold the experience in a recent Facebook post.

Luckily, when Davies explained the situation, the officers, Steven Bowen and Leigh Francis, were sympathetic, especially because one of them has a nephew with Asperger's. They even helped cheer Cerys Lily up and let her play with the lights and siren on their police car.

Davies thought that was the end of the matter until he heard a knock on the door the following day. It was the same two officers and this time they're brought a gift for Davies' daughter: the Finding Dory lunch bag she'd wanted!

I love this story—especially as it comes after weeks of tough news about police interactions gone awry—because it shows how far a bit of understanding, explanation, and kindness can go. I hope we continue to see more stories like this, and I desperately hope others follow these officers' wonderful example.

Jamie Pacton writes middle grade and young adult fiction, drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons. Find her at www.jamiepacton.com, Facebook, and Twitter @jamiepacton.