The Polar Express is an annual holiday bucket list experience that many families dream of doing. So, when the Swartout family finalized their plans and got ready to board the Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express, they were incredibly excited. Sadly, though, they wouldn’t get to ride the train that day. Ty, who has autism, became overwhelmed by the experience so the family went back to their hotel feeling disappointed. It wouldn’t take long for some holiday magic in the form of an amazing gift from the Grand Canyon Railway to help Ty and his family realise their dream of riding the Polar Express.
In a Facebook post written by the Swartout family, they explain what happened.
“Tonight we were supposed to have ridden the Polar Express. Sadly our son had other plans. You see he is autistic. He was so excited that he became overwhelmed and had an atomic size meltdown. He beat me and his dad up pretty badly,” the post reads. “A wonderful woman helped us by holding our stuff while we tried to keep Ty from smashing his head on the bricks. The staff of the Grand Canyon Railway tried so hard to help. They even held the train. Finally, I had to say let’s go back to the room. I cried all the way back. My heart was shattered. I wanted this so badly for my son. He loves trains and he loves the Polar Express. This was a dream come true. But it didn’t happen.”
What happened next was nothing short of a Christmas miracle. The staff at the Grand Canyon Polar Express sent a convoy over to the hotel room to help Ty and his family fulfill their dream. While Mr. Swartout stepped outside to speak with the staff who knocked on their hotel door, Mrs. Swartout curled up in bed with Ty to read him a book.
“I curled up next to my son and read him his favourite book The Polar Express. 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,” the post reads. “He sat next to Ty’s bed and chatted with him. Ty was star struck. He was so excited and happy. Then the conductor gave Ty his pocket watch! After the conductor left my husband told me that the hotel and railway offered to reschedule our visit special accommodations! They said that they want everyone to experience something special and magical.”
The following day, the family got one more amazing surprise, “The conductor reached out to us today and said that the Grand Canyon Railway wanted us to come back! They are giving us dinner, a hotel room, train tickets, and breakfast all on them! To top everything off The Conductor will be having dinner with us and take Ty on a tour!!! They want Ty to experience his dream of riding the Polar Express!!”
The story is a heartfelt and amazing example of how kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life. We can’t wait to hear about Ty’s big trip on the Polar Express and we hope that the Swartout family keeps the world updated.
More About Autism:
- How I Knew My Daughter Had Autism, Even Before Her Doctors Did
- Autism Mums: The World Is Not Ready For Our Kids to Grow Up
- Raising a Daughter With Autism Has Made Me a Better Mum