Stranger who helped calm autistic child on packed train hailed a “hero”

A mother has praised the actions of a stranger after he helped calm her autistic son on a train – amid concerns that there is not enough support for autistic people on public transport.

Gayna Pealling was travelling home to Farnborough when her five-year-old son Jack “started to have a meltdown”.

She said people immediately became irritated, with noises of tutting filling the train carriage. She had also tried to appeal to passengers, explaining that her son had autism and ADHD.

But to her surprise, one man stepped in to help her son through the journey.

“This random lovely stranger called Dan took over and was talking to both my children,” said Gayna.

“He calmed my son down and the train journey was perfect… thank you to this man, you really don’t know how much I appreciated your help.

“This guy is my hero.”

Dan sat with the family for almost an hour, at one point helping Jack take his medication.

Gayna said: “Dan shouted out: ‘I take tablets so how about you show me how to take them’. Jack said alright I’ll take the tablets. Dan started talking to my daughter and colouring, and after a while Jack wanted to sit with him, too.

“I put it on a ‘Spotted in London’ group afterwards and that’s how I found Dan, and messaged him to say thank you again.”

The pair have since set up a fundraising page to help raise awareness for the condition, raising over £1,000 in the process.