“I feel too much,” he says at one point. “That’s what’s going on.”
Indeed, the sense of being overwhelmed by a barrage of stimuli is part and parcel of the condition and others like it.
Thankfully, one police officer in Rohnert Park, California, knew that when he started searching for a lost man with autism.
According to Yahoo, Rohnert Park Motorcycle Officer Justin Thompson was familiar with 31-year-old Lance Grumley. That knowledge proved vital when Grumley went missing.
KTVU explained that Grumley suffered from a developmental disability. In fact, his condition makes it dangerous for him to be alone.
He can read only a few words, and he almost always remains near his mother, Diane Grumley. But on May 8, that changed.
Grumley wandered into the garage as he and his mother were preparing to leave the house. “He went down to open the garage like he always does, and I didn’t really know he went out the door,’” she explained.
In the rush to get out the door, Diane had forgotten that she’d left her vehicle at a nearby family member’s home. She attributes what happened next to that fact.
Grumley wandered outside and may have been confused by the lack of a car. “He couldn’t find me, and I think he was kinda sad,” Diane explained.
“He may have thought, ‘Mom left without me.’ That’s never happened.”
Whatever the reason, Grumley was out in the wide world all alone — and that wasn’t a good thing. So Diane rang the police, got her car and began searching.
Rohnert Park Police quickly sprang into action. “When a call comes in like that, it turns into all hands on deck,” Police Chief Tim Mattos said.
“That was a serious call. We wanted to make sure he was found.”
Officer Thompson knew about Grumley and managed to locate him within 10 minutes at a nearby park. Perhaps thinking that his appearance might overwhelm and intimidate Grumley, Thompson shed his helmet and gloves.
Then he engulfed the man in a hug. Grumley embraced him right back.
“Justin was the perfect person to find him,” Mattos said. “He has a great heart.”
Grumley’s sister, Sara Grumley, added, “We try to teach him that the police officers are the good guys. We are very grateful to the police for responding so quickly and for handling the situation so compassionately.”
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