Keith Miller (KM) and Ellen Hughes (EH)
Ellen Hughes (EH): We’re driving at rush hour and my sweet guy is screaming and grabbing me and we’re just scared to death. This is not the guy I know at all. We were already anticipating what was gonna happen in this emergency room. Cause when he was a little boy, an officer got on his back while he was screaming. And he’s been handcuffed to gurneys in emergency rooms…
Keith Miller (KM): Oh, wow.
EH: …just for having a seizure and being big. That day we show up at a hospital — here’s this giant, 6 foot 3 guy, just bit his old mom.
EH: I’m sitting there broken-hearted, scared out of my mind, bleeding… And Walker’s trying to run away. And I see, like, five guys on him and all I think is “this will not end well — they’re gonna kill him.” But suddenly, I hear this cute game.
KM: Right [laughs]
EH: Where he’s trying to escape and you’re going “Walker gets up! Walker sits down.” “Walker scoots back. Walker lies down!” And then you said “high fives all around.” And I thought “he won’t do it.” And I look and he’s beaming. And he’s high fiving every single officer.
KM: Mmhmm, mmhmm…
EH: And then you started singing… and I thought I would lose it forever.
KM: I started singing Mr Rogers’ neighborhood.
EH: You’re singing Mr. Rogers with these men. And he went from being terrified to feeling like he had cool friends, cool guys hanging out with him.
KM: Yeah… yeah. I saw this man who was dealing with something he just did not understand.
KM: And I saw the fear…
KM: …in your face. It, it touched me personally. Um, my son is 14. Uh, he was 15 months when he was first diagnosed as being autistic. Being a father of a child who has autism, I don’t know what changes is gonna occur in him. And, as parents, we’re there to help them deal with their obstacles. And if we can’t do it by ourselves, there’s other people out there to help. And I want to be one of those other people.
EH: Well, nobody else does what you do. We looked like a very scary situation coming in there. And we turned into a party I think people wanted to join. I’ve been in a lot of ERs. And some people have been kinda nice. I never sat there and felt like this is one of the most important moments of my life.