A pair of closing train doors at Punggol MRT station separated David from his domestic helper, but by the time she hurried back to the platform to find him, the 17-year-old boy was nowhere to be found.
It wasn't until later that day that the boy's mother, identified only as Clara, was able to locate her son, who has autism, at Vivocity, due in no small part to the efforts of a helpful temperature screener stationed at the mall.
In a post on Friends of ASD Families' Facebook page last night (Oct 6), Clara recounted how her son and helper had been on the way to school when they lost each other. While rushing to board the train, the doors closed just as her helper stepped in, leaving her son outside the carriage.
Despite gesturing for David to wait at the platform for her, the teen was missing when Clara's helper returned to the platform. She took the train along the pair's usual route to school in an attempt to locate the missing teen, but to no avail.
After searching in vain for the teen, she informed Clara of what happened and approached the station staff for help.
But as Clara was making a police report, she received a call from David's school, informing her that a man had found her son and that the two were waiting for her at Vivocity.
David had boarded the train and alighted at Harbourfront station, at the other end of the line, where a temperature screener at the mall had found him.
The young man, identified as Wei Xiang, had just turned up to work when he spotted David tugging at his colleague.
Guessing that David might need help, he called up his school and kept him company while waiting for Clara to arrive.
Not only that, he made sure to keep David comfortable and entertained, Clara shared.
"Wei Xiang could also guess from David’s gestures that David wanted to eat, so he Googled and showed him various food images. When David pointed to the noodles, Wei Xiang even bought David the noodles with his own money!"
"Wei Xiang was truly remarkable in his persistence in helping a youth who couldn't communicate well," she wrote, expressing her gratitude and appreciation.
She added: "If you notice anyone behaving differently or unable to comply with safety measures out there, I hope this story helps you pause a little and reach out, just in case it's another child or youth who needs help."