It’s not every day that someone gets to meet another person they can instantly connect and feel comfortable with. That’s one of the reasons why this meeting between a preschooler and a firefighter is extra special.
Learning about safety
Anthony Banas, a firefighter from Wheatland Fire Department, was at a local elementary school to give the young students there a lesson on fire safety. But during his demonstration on the protective suit and equipment that firefighters wear on the job, he noticed that one of the preschoolers seemed to be having a hard time.
And as he was letting the kids know how to recognize a firefighter in case they ever find themselves in an emergency situation, a student, Kayli Templeton, came up to him. Asking the girl if there was anything wrong, Anthony unexpectedly received a hug from Kayli.
The kind firefighter gave her a hug back, feeling that the student just needed a hug.
Unbeknownst to him at the time was the fact that Kayli actually has autism, which makes her easily overwhelmed when she’s with new people.
Anthony spoke about it in an interview with ABC 10:
“I had a feeling there was something different about her. Not in a bad way.”
This sweet gesture from the firefighter was received positively by the girl’s mother, Brittany Templeton, who saw the picture of the two. The doting mom was thankful for the kindness Anthony showed Kayli when the girl was having a bad day.
As she revealed, Kayli was just diagnosed with autism recently. Her mom also shared that, while the student can function quite normally on most days, that there are also still some days things can be extra difficult.
There’s also the fact that Kayli is often misunderstood by other people. Because her condition is not really that obvious, it sometimes leads people to think that the young student is just emotional – or worse, bratty.
After seeking out the firefighter to personally thank him, Brittany found out that Anthony knew what to do in the situation because he actually has a family member, a brother, who is also on the autism spectrum.
“As a parent, this kind of diagnosis can leave you wondering how each day is going to be. If someone is going to show her compassion or judgment. And yesterday, it was compassion.”
Also called autism spectrum disorder, the condition can affect a person’s ability to communicate with other people through gestures or facial expressions that come naturally to most. The severity varies from case to case, but a good number of those with autism can function well in society with a little assistance.
Anthony and Kayli got to meet again with Brittany coming along, as well. And just like when they first met, the girl ran up and gave her new friend a big hug.
Meanwhile, Anthony expressed his surprise about how much attention the picture of him embracing Kayli got on social media.
Anthony told ABC 10:
“I’m just a simple firefighter, that’s it. I’m glad I could make her day when she was having a hard time.”
Watch Anthony and Kayli bond again in the adorable video:
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WATCH: A firefighter visiting a school noticed a girl with autism was not having a good time – so, he held her in his arms and comforted her 😭 https://cbsn.ws/2o6Y0fp
Posted by The Uplift on Tuesday, October 22, 2019