Mum travelling from Portsmouth hails stranger a ‘hero’ after calming down her autistic son

'Hero' Dan Ball plays with Gayna Pealling's children, Jack and Amy. Picture: Facebook/Gayna Pealling
'Hero' Dan Ball plays with Gayna Pealling's children, Jack and Amy. Picture: Facebook/Gayna Pealling
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A train passenger has been hailed a ‘hero’ after helping to calm down a boy with autism who had become distressed.

Gayna Pealling was travelling from Portsmouth back to her home in Farnborough with her son Jack, five, and daughter Amy, four, when fellow passenger Daniel Ball stepped in to help.

Gayna and her children Amy (left) and Jack (right). Picture: Facebook/Gayna Pealling

Gayna and her children Amy (left) and Jack (right). Picture: Facebook/Gayna Pealling

Jack, who has autism and ADHD, was experiencing a meltdown and his mother was struggling to calm them down when Mr Ball came and sat down beside them.

The 21-year-old, from London, began ‘distracting and playing with’ Jack and his sister, giving their mother a much-needed rest during the 50-minute journey between Winchester and Farnborough.

As reported by inews.co.uk, Ms Pealling later posted pictures of Mr Ball entertaining her children on Facebook.

The single mum told the Evening Standard: ‘If I didn’t have Dan that journey would have been a nightmare.

If I didn’t have Dan that journey would have been a nightmare.

Gayna Pealling

‘When an autistic child has a meltdown it is hard.’

She said that other passengers had stared and tutted until Mr Ball started talking to her children.

She added: ‘People always turn to me and say, “He’s naughty” or “You’re a bad mother” or even “He’s disgusting”...But [this time] I had a hero - Dan - and if people helped other parents like me, they would be thankful too.’

Despite the praise for Mr Ball he insisted he did not do ‘anything miraculous’.

Last week Mr Ball and his mother, who has worked in the special needs sector for more than 40 years, launched a new campaign called Come To My Rescue.

The pair have created badges reading ‘The Rescuer’ which passengers can wear on public transport to let parents know they are happy to help.

Have you experienced an act of kindness from a stranger on public transport? We want to hear about your stories. To get in touch email kieran.davey@jpress.co.uk or message us on our Facebook page.