Mom thanks 'hero' stranger who laid down with her autistic son to calm him during a meltdown
via Better to Be Different / Facebook

Natalie Fernando, 44, was walking down the seafront at Southend-on-Sea in Essex, England with her five-year-old son Rudy when he refused to turn around after she asked him. Rudy has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and it's common for people with it to have difficulty being redirected, especially if they are enjoying an activity.

"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 favourite walk with the boats we have no choice but to turn back," Natalie wrote on her blog's Facebook page, "Better to Be Different."

This caused Rudy to lay down on the ground and throw a meltdown. Natalie apologized to passersby for his loud noises, but she still received judgemental stares.

It's common for Rudy's meltdowns to last for an hour or more and he can become very aggressive.


But a man named Ian, who was walking down the seafront with a two-year-old in a stroller, saw Rudy and came to the rescue.

"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, 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," Natalie wrote.

After Ian got down on Rudy's level and started a conversation, it distracted him from his meltdown and he began to calm down. Soon, Rudy was back on his feet and ready to go home.

"He then proceeded to chat with us whilst walking back to the car," Natalie wrote. "I am so thankful to this chap Ian, I will not forget his kindness. In a world where you can be anything be kind."

Ian was smart to know to get down on Rudy's level and to be empathetic. Children with ASD aren't having meltdowns to be defiant. "Children with autism aren't crying, wailing, or flailing to get at us somehow," Healthline says.

"They're crying because it's what their bodies need to do in that moment to release tension and emotion from feeling overwhelmed with emotions or sensory stimulations," the article continues.

Ian should also be commended because, at a time when most people ignored the meltdown or were judgemental, he stepped up and tried to help.

Natalie says she welcomes all the help she can get when her child melts down in public. "If you see a parent struggling, maybe take the time to say, 'Are you OK?' don't judge the parenting, try not to judge the child, just be kind," she said on Facebook.

"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 added.

She ended the post by thanking the man we should all strive to be more like. "Thanks Ian from Southend Sea Front, you truly are a kind man…"

Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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via Fox 5 / YouTube

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The dog had a collar but there was no owner in sight.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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