I want to send out a thanks to a Montana State Trooper. I don’t know his name but he’s a superhero to me.
I know that the term hero is over used these days. Every person who is a cop, firefighter, or soldier is a hero no matter how they act or what they do. However, a true hero is one who comes in time of great need and the other day I was in great need.
We needed some shopping that wasn’t available in our little town and I needed the oil changed in our van so we went to Great Falls, the closest large city. It’s about an hour away. Trips to Great Falls don’t always go well for us because my Autistic son will periodically have meltdowns. I don’t knowing they are from overstimulation or from his desire to do something that he isn’t allowed to do.
I don’t know what other Autistic kids’ meltdowns are like but my son lately has been rather violent. I have teeth marks on my wrists and scratches and bruises all over my arms. My poor daughter looks as if she was attacked by a large wild animal. He doesn’t mean to hurt us. He just can’t understand how to deal with his emotions in a good way. It’s usually in the form of kicking, biting, pinching, punching, and head butting.
So when we came out if Kmart and the little merry-go-round outside the door wasn’t working it triggered a meltdown and he bit me so hard it brought tears to my eyes. Fortunately or unfortunately we were finished shopping at that time so we went to the van to go home. This only increased the meltdown.
By the time we were on the interstate he was attacking my daughter who was sitting next to him. Bless her heart she was trying to remain calm and talking to him trying to get him to snap out if it but he kept at it.
That’s when he unbuckled his seatbelt and started jumping around the van. I pulled over and put on my flashers. By this point I’ve lost my temper as I’m hanging over the seat trying to get him to sit down and buckle in without getting hit, bit, or kicked in the face. When I glanced out the back window and saw flashing light pulling in behind us.
Oh great! That’s all I need. I’m thinking: child abuse, domestic violence, tickets for stopping in a bad place. You see where I grew up in Colorado a lot of the cops are on a power trip and aren’t always nice or even helpful.
The trooper came up to my window.
He said, “I saw you had your flashers on and I wanted to check and see if everything was alright.”
I explained about William’s meltdown and how he took his seatbelt off so I had to stop.
He looked in the back seat and sternly but not unkindly said, “William, you need to keep your seatbelt on so you can be safe. And you need to be nice to your sister. Can you do that for me?”
My son stared at him a moment then said with tears still running down his face, “Yes.”
The trooper then wished us a good day. I thanked him and we were back on our way.
The meltdown started again a few miles down the road and lasted another half an hour until Leah managed to get him laughing. (My daughter is really good at that.). However he didn’t try to take his seatbelt off again.
Later that night and all of yesterday William kept talking about “police officer” and “seatbelt on”. The encounter made an impression.
There are times with Autistic kids that you need someone else to get through to them. They don’t always listen to mom or dad. So I say thank you to my hero. He came in my time of great need and made a lasting impression on my son that will hopefully keep him safe in the future.
That trooper is a shining example of what police are supposed to be and it renews my faith. Thank you again Mr. Trooper.