Boy With Autism Gets A Special Visit After His Meltdown Prevented Him From Riding The Polar Express

November 19, 2019

Lloyd and Angle Swartout were very excited to take their son on the Polar Express at the Grand Canyon Railway, but unfortunately, that never happened.

Their son Ty has autism, and he was so excited that he became overwhelmed and had a meltdown.

But the night still ended with some unexpected magic.

boy autism polar express
Credit: Lloyd and Angie Swartout

This is what the family wrote on Facebook:

"Tonight we were supposed to have ridden the Polar Express.

Sadly our son had other plans.

You see he is autistic. He was so excited that he became overwhelmed and had an atomic size meltdown.

A wonderful woman helped us by holding our stuff while we tried to keep Ty from smashing his head on the bricks.

The staff of the Grand Canyon Railway tried so hard to help. They even held the train.

Finally I had to say let's go back to the room. I cried all the way back. My heart was shattered.

I wanted this so badly for my son. He loves trains and he loves the Polar Express. This was a dream come true.

But it didn't happen.


We got to our room and I went into the bathroom and silently cried. My heart ached.

I (eventually) curled up next to my son and read him his favorite book The Polar Express.

I had just finished when my husband came in and said that there was someone special that wanted to visit.

Ty and I shook our head yes and in walks the train conductor. He sat next to Ty's bed and chatted with him. Ty was star struck. He was so excited and happy.

Then the conductor gave Ty his pocket watch!"

boy autism polar express
Credit: Lloyd and Angie Swartout

"After the conductor left my husband told me that the hotel and railway offered to reschedule our visit special accommodations!

They said that they want everyone to experience something special and magical. They succeeded.

We may not have gotten to ride a train but we got something even more magical..... We got the gift of human kindness!

Thank you to the woman that stayed with us and helped.

Thank you to the entire staff at the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel.

You have truly made a difference in our lives.

Please share this so everyone knows what an amazing place this is!"

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