Officer's Efforts Calm Autistic Teen, Photo Goes Viral
Kristin Danley 12/12/2016
Parents of children with autism are intimately familiar with the challenges of parenting their loved ones. Children with autism are full of love and joy, but at a moment's notice, things can change.
A person with autism can quickly become agitated and difficult to calm back down once they've reached that state. Unless you know a person has autism, simply looking at him or her will tell you nothing about what's going on within their mind and body.
Well, when one Tennessee mom's autistic son wouldn't calm down, she decided to pick up the phone and dial the police.
In Tennessee, a young man named Bubba, 19, who has autism, had this happen to him. One minute he was happy going and carefree, the next, very upset. His mom, Christy Richards, could not calm him down. But she knew what would.
Bubba loves police officers. So Christy called 911 and hoped that an officer would appear at their home to help her with Bubba. Fortunately, Deputy Corey Loftis with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office showed up at their doorstep.
Christy was thinking the officer would talk to Bubba, and do what he could to calm him down. But instead, Deputy Loftis did something special, which floored not just Christy, but Bubba and others around the world, because the officer's actions have gone viral.
Deputy Loftis, in full uniform, got down on the ground in the middle of the driveway and started doing push-ups. He told Bubba to join him. Exercise is a great outlet for people with autism and a wonderful way to reduce anxiety.
The sheriff's office posted a photo on its Facebook page of Deputy Loftis and Bubba sharing this moment. The post said:
"Dep. Corey Loftis was dispatched to a residence in reference to a boy with autism who was severely agitated. The mother knew ‘Bubba' loved officers so she called for a deputy to respond to her house. When Dep. Loftis showed up, he was able to calm ‘Bubba' down and showed him how to channel his frustration by doing ‘PUSH-UPS!'"
It didn't take long before Bubba was laughing and back to himself. Christy saw how one kind officer's actions helped her son. She was inspired to show how much his kindness meant to her, so in recognition of Autism Awareness Week, Christy, Bubba and Patti Nettles Arnold and her son Trever with the North Georgia Autism Support Group teamed up to create goodie bags full of food and showered the Bradley County Sheriff's Office with gifts, a special plaque, mug and other items for Deputy Loftis, and had a small celebration together.
Even more incredible is that the Basketball Cop who has a foundation sent Bubba a basketball goal and some basketballs. He had it sent to the county sheriff's department and guess who delivered it to Bubba? None other than Deputy Loftis. A line of police cars escorted a pickup truck carrying Bubba's new basketball goal to Bubba's house.
Everyone who knows Bubba knows he has a heart of gold. He regularly takes food to a homeless man who camps not far from his home. He also rescued this abandoned dog at a nearby gas station.
Bubba also has been collecting tabs toward a goal of 1 million tabs that he will then donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. He has received tabs not just from people in his hometown and church, but from people across the country. Despite his autism, Bubba is doing great things and with the help and affection of people like Deputy Loftis, Bubba will be a light in this world.
Sources: Bubba's Life, Bradley County Sheriff's Office, Basketball Cop Foundation FB Image Credit: Bradley County Sheriff's Office