(Juneau Empire File)

Letter: Thanks for helping a visitor during a difficult moment

I want to commend Juneau’s citizens for being so kind and caring on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.

My 25-year-old, autistic daughter, Irina Mumford, had a meltdown while visiting Juneau. She could no longer cope with the chaos of a vacation cruise that had gone very wrong. Tired and upset, she sat down in the middle of a crosswalk, screamed, rocked, and refused to move. Her personal support worker — Rachelle Niko — tried to soothe her, but Irina would not get up.

When two Juneau police officers arrived, they calmly set about ensuring everyone’s safety. They directed the traffic around her, and when they learned that music might help, they played music on their car radio for her to enjoy. They kindly reassured her that it was all OK, that everyone needed to rock sometimes. No one honked or made unkind remarks as they passed by.

A woman came from the Red Dog Saloon store, bringing cookies, a beverage and a pair of soft gloves for Irina to cuddle. She knew that such things were generally calming to a person on the autism spectrum.

All of this was an amazing demonstration of a kind and understanding community. The city of Juneau is beautifully placed on the Gastineau Channel, but more importantly is inhabited by caring and generous citizens. These city employees and ordinary people helped a distressed young woman calm down so that she could board a plane and safely get home.

Thank you all for being there when my daughter was in such need.

Jody Mumford

Portland, Oregon