18-year-old Ty Swartout is autistic. He is a huge fan of the Polar Express movie and watches it all the time. He has also read the book hundreds of times. One day, his parents discovered something amazing. There was a real-life version of the magic train in Williams, Arizona, and they made special arrangements to take Ty there to let him experience this once-in-a-lifetime event.
After a 4-hour drive to get there, Ty put on his plaid pajamas and looked forward to getting on the train. But after eating dinner and preparing to board the train, Ty had two big meltdowns. The train staff tried really hard to get Ty on board, but because of those meltdowns, his parents told them to go ahead and leave. So with a lot of sadness, they all walked back to their room.
Says Ty’s mom: “I cried all the way back. My heart was shattered. I wanted this so badly for my son.”
It was a rough time for all of them. But a short time after returning to their room, there was a knock on the door. It was a hotel staffer and a police officer who wanted to make sure that Ty was okay. They then helped Ty’s dad reschedule the visit with free special needs accommodations. Then, as Angie and Ty prepared to read the book once again, there was another knock at the door. It was the actual conductor of the Polar Express.
Says Angie: “I had just finished when my husband came back in and he 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 (before leaving) the conductor gave Ty his pocket watch!”
It was certainly a magical time for Ty and his family. And who would expect anything less… of the Polar Express.
Tonight we were supposed to have ridden the Polar Express. Sadly our son had other plans. You see he is autistic. He…Posted by Lloyd Angie Swartout on Thursday, 14 November 2019
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