A MUM has thanked a kind stranger who lay on the pavement to stop her autistic son from having a "meltdown".
Natalie Fernando and her five-year-old son Rudy were walking in Southend, Essex when the boy became angry about having to turn back.
He lay down on the ground and refused to move.
A caring passerby named Ian stopped to ask if everything was OK.
Natalie explained that her son had autism as well as a "host of other challenges making this part of the walk difficult".
Ian then lay down on the floor with Rudy and chatted to him – eventually helping him get back on his feet.
The selfless stranger then walked both mum and son back to their car.
Natalie shared an emotional post to Facebook about Ian's help, saying he had "saved me today from either a meltdown lasting up to an hour or more or the alternative which is usually a bit of a beating from my boy who totally loses himself when he has a meltdown and can become very aggressive".
She wrote: "This man, a total stranger took time out of his day to just chat and ask if I was OK.
"This man, a total stranger was my hero this morning and after laying with Roo then walked Rudy and I all the way back to our car.
"I wish there were more of this man around and I am beyond thankful."
Natalie explained that Rudy "loves to walk but hates to turn around and walk back".
She said they usually try to walk in a circuit, but had no choice back to turn back this time.
"I am so thankful to this chap Ian, I will not forget his kindness," she wrote in her social media post.
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