Viral photo shows firefighter comforting preschooler recently diagnosed with autism

Credit: Wheatland Fire Authority

A firefighter is being commended for his compassion for helping a young girl, who has autism, during a lesson on fire safety.

Kayli Templeton was having a hard time since the experience was overwhelming for her.

“There were new people in her regular environment asking kids to try this and do this which would be AWESOME to most kids - but for her it can be overwhelming,” her mother, Brittany Templeton, wrote on Facebook.

Brittany explained that her daughter was recently diagnosed with autism and while most days are typically normal, some will be more difficult and overwhelming.

Anthony Banas, with the Wheatland Fire Authority, was approached by Kayli for a hug. Without hesitation, Banas immediately offered Kayli the comfort she was seeking.  

For Banas, his action was nothing out of the ordinary and he knew how to handle the situation since he has a famiy member who has autism.

“This sweet man let her cuddle, and relax right there on his lap for who knows how long because he could just tell she was having a hard time,” Brandi wrote, elated.

The Wheatland Fire Authority has shared that the lesson was “rewarding” but it will certainly be unforgettable for the Templeton family.

“Anyway, it warmed my heart and I thought the community should know the story behind the photo the department posted yesterday,” Brittany added.