Photo of Police Officer Goes Viral After He Calms Little Boy with Autism at Train Station
Taylor Pomilla, 24, is mom to 4-year-old Andrew, and they spend a good amount of their time on public transportation. Pomilla is always geared up the for the long rides, and brings along activities and snacks to keep her son, who has autism, happy and occupied.
As any parent knows, though, some days are just better than others — and that was especially true for Pomilla and her son on July 19. The mother posted about their run-in with “the law” on Facebook.
“Andrews biggest behavior problem (that he has been working on by learning calming strategies) is that sometimes when he gets upset, it will go two steps too far, and escalate into a full on meltdown/breakdown,” she explained.
On this particular Friday, July 19, Andrew decided that he would not be swayed by sweet bribery or flashing screens, and all he wanted was to run up and down the aisle-way of the moving train — obviously a potential disaster, but a temptation many children have faced.
“I kept trying everything to get him to sit, but he just wouldn’t (this fight went on for 20 min), that is when he his regular toddler tantrum turned into a meltdown, or what I call, the point of no return for him,” the mom continued in her post.
“He started rolling on the floor, screaming, his shoe fell off and he flung it across the train, all while I’m on the floor trying to calm him down (in a dress) with all the candy I had. Then he starts the kicking, hitting, pulling my hair while everyone in rush hour stares on the train, most thinking I was a bad parent who had an out of control child, even though really he can’t help it.”
Pomilla explained how at times it’s difficult for her son to process emotions, and so all of his feelings can erupt in these kinds of displays. It’s disheartening, though, when the people around instantly judge her for being a bad parent without knowing the circumstances.
“Sometimes Andrews emotions just become too much for him to mentally work through, but when people start staring and Andrew notices, he takes this as opportunity to put on a show,” she wrote.
“I blurt [out loud], ‘I’m so sorry he has autism!!!’ in an attempt to stop the stares. He was getting worse and I knew we had to get off.”
They exited the train a whole stop early, still nearly half an hour from their destination, in an attempt to refocus — but Andrew was not interested in that. He wanted to leave the station, and when they didn’t, he continued his tantrum, but this time getting dirty from the gross station floor.
“Trust me this isn’t my first rodeo as a single parent,” Pomilla continued, “but sometimes it just gets the best of me. At this point I am crying out of pure frustration and feeling so sad that Andrew is being judged right now. I panic as I see someone walking towards us, but it turns out to be a Metro Police Officer.”
Fifteen minutes into the wrangling, a cop named Dominic Case walked up to them. At first, the mom was worried, but as the policeman drew nearer, her son completely changed.
“The officer asks me if I needed any help or if he could help by walking us out of station (since he saw how Andrew stopped when he came over) I explained the situation to him and how this wasn’t even our stop. He asked where I was going and I told him Ballston station (a solid 30 minutes from where we were). Without hesitation he said, ‘Okay I’ll come on the train.'”
Then he turned to Andrew and asked, “Can you be a police man with me and help me do police work on the train?”
Andrew accepted, even offering his hand to the cop, who graciously took it and held it for nearly the entire trip.
“The officer ends up riding the metro THE ENTIRE train home with us!!! Whenever he got off he would hold Andrews hand and walk with him,” the grateful mother wrote. “He sat next to Andrew as he requested on the train, acted interested as he showed him silly videos, and he even made funny faces in the Instagram face filters when Andrew asked.”
“She definitely looked like she needed a little help,” Case said, according to the Washington Post. “He was having a tantrum and she was carrying a lot of bags.”
“Being that he really wanted to hold my hand, it seemed like a calming thing at the time. It seemed the right thing to do.”
As it turned out, Case had his own 4-year-old at home, and knew exactly how to keep Andrew entertained. In the end, he said it was no bother to escort the little family.
“I really didn’t mind riding with them,” Case said. “Her son seemed to be really happy I was there.”
Pomilla is understandably very thankful for the help the officer extended to them, and has tagged multiple media outlets in a bid to get his kindness recognized and perhaps even get him a raise.
“To that officer,” she wrote, “I truly can not say thank you enough for your [immeasurable] amount of kindness and for making Andrews day (probably his whole year).”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.