People with autism should not just be respected because they need understanding too. The photograph of a firefighter hugging a 3-year-old girl doing a school fire safety presentation went viral because it touches people’s hearts. The photo made the mother of the girl proud too.

Proud to have had little Kayli at our firehouse today with Firefighter Banas. Check out the interview in ABC 10!

Posted by Wheatland Fire Authority on Friday, October 18, 2019

Last September, Kayli’s doctor said she has autism. Kayli was showing signs of nervousness during the presentation, and Anthony Banas, a volunteer fireman, and emergency room technician, noticed Kayli immediately because his brother has autism.

25-year-old Anthony spoke to Yahoo Lifestyle, “We were showing the children our gear to make it less scary than it might be in a real situation, and I noticed Kayli in the corner with her teacher. She looked afraid.”

Anthony paid particular attention to Kayli during their safety equipment presentation because he knows how hard it is to have autism. The volunteer noticed that Kayli was distressed. He said, “She didn’t have the usual shyness of children her age.”

Kayli approached and hugged Anthony spontaneously during a Q and A session, and it pleased the volunteer. That moment was photographed and shared on the Facebook page of the fire department, and it went viral.

From the mother of this special little girl: My youngest daughter was recently diagnosed with Autism. She functions…

Posted by Wheatland Fire Authority on Thursday, October 17, 2019

The department posted the message of Kayli’s mom, Brittany Templeton, on Facebook too. She said, “I didn’t even know she was struggling that day until I saw this picture. There were new people in her natural environment asking kids to try this and do this, which would be AWESOME to most kids — but for her, it can be overwhelming.” Brittany has two kids, and she’s currently pregnant.

Brittany addressed Anthony as well, “This sweet man let her cuddle and relax right there on his lap for who knows how long because he could tell she was having a hard time. As a parent, this kind of diagnosis can leave you wondering how each day is going to be if someone is going to show her compassion or judgment. And yesterday, it was compassion. Anyway, it warmed my heart, and I thought the community should know the story behind the photo they posted yesterday.”

Anthony and Kaylie have reunited at the Firestation. Kayli plied on the firetruck and gave high-fives to the firemen. Brittany said it’s heartwarming that Anthony showed kindness to her daughter and didn’t see her as “bratty.” Anthony believes people should be more patient to autistic people because they have a lot of hard moments.

Photo Shows Fire Fighter Comforting A Scared Little Girl In Her Preschool Class 🙂

A little girl, recently diagnosed with autism, was scared when fire fighters paid her preschool class a visit…but then something amazing happened!

Posted by Eric Rucker on Friday, October 18, 2019

Brittany said, “Kayli is on this firefighter kick right now. The department is right down the street from our home, so we will have to visit again.”