(CNN) — What started out as an overwhelming train ride for a little boy with autism, turned into a special friendship between he and a transit officer in DC who went beyond the call of duty.
It’s a friendship that formed months ago, but a photo of the pair has gone viral since then, and CNN’s Jessica Schneider was there for the sweet reunion.
“How you doing Andrew? Hey buddy!”
It’s a heartfelt reunion for 5-year-old Andrew Pomilla and metro transit officer Dominic Case.
“Alrighty buddy, you wanna go on the train?”
Weeks after this picture and their story went viral, the two met up again on the Washington D.C. Metro where they first became unlikely travel buddies.
Taylor Pomilla, Andrew’s mom: “He literally, right here on the train, started freaking out.”
Taylor Pomilla, Andrew’s mom says, “he threw his shoes off, he was barefoot. I think he hit someone with his shoe.”
Taylor Pomilla knows that tantrums come with the territory given Andrew’s autism, but this particular outburst outlasted her patience and she soon pulled him off the train.
Taylor says, “he continued to freak out right on the edge. We were right next to the tracks and of course, as a parent, I didn’t want him to fall into the tracks.”
Officer case happened to be right there on patrol and decided to step in.
Jessica Schneider, CNN: “Would you say this was more instinct or training? “
Case says, “I would say it was a little of both and, as a parent, seeing Taylor and Andrew, you know, that’s something that has happened to me plenty of times in public.”
It was a seemingly simple gesture that lasted more than 30 minutes.
Officer Case rode side-by-side with Taylor and Andrew for several stops until their final destination at their home station in Virginia.
Case says, “my presence being around Andrew seemed to calm so it seemed like it was the right thing to do at the time.”
Taylor’s initial way of saying thanks was by posting this photo on facebook.
It got thousands of likes.
Taylor says “what I loved though was I was getting all of these comments and all of these people were loving how it made them feel like there was still good in the world. They could relate if they had a child with autism.”
Jessica Schneider, CNN: “So, the officer warmed your heart and then he warmed others hearts sharing this.”
Taylor says, “I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome though.”
But eventually, she sought out officer Case to officially say thanks.
Taylor says, “I’ve tried in a million ways to say thank you for everything because I really, you know, it meant more than I think you even thought at first.”
A special friendship formed on public transit that has warmed the hearts of parents of autistic children online.