When friends stood him up for a play date, police and firefighters saved the day for this autistic boy.
Eleven-year-old Austin Mendrala has been having a hard time finding other kids to play with this summer. When his mom would invite others to hang out in the park, no one was showing up. At one point, he cried for an hour over his loneliness, but the future was looking brighter.
His mother, Delilah, explained the situation on social media and put out an open call for kids to meet Austin at the local school playground in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
Just as Austin and his mom were about to give up, a pair of police cruisers showed up and the officers made the boy the center of attention. They spent an hour with Austin, letting him sit in their patrol cars and try on their hats.
Before they left, a fire engine and ambulance pulled up—and firefighters and EMTs joined the play date.
Detective Chris Spillane says when he’d suggested the department help Austin have a good day at the playground, police officers “didn’t even hesitate” and some wanted to call their friends at the fire department.
While the police and firefighters hung out with Austin, more families started showing up — many with autistic kids who’d been facing the same lonely summer as Austin.
“Austin told me that it was the best day he ever had,” said Mendrala. “Merrimack police and firefighters are heroes. He will be talking about this for the rest of the summer.”