Tesco staff pay for woman's shopping after autistic son's 'episode'

Woman and son

Kylie Thompson and her son Riley-Jay - Credit: Kylie Thompson

A woman whose autistic son required restraining during a "full-blown episode" at Tesco tills has thanked the staff who paid for her shopping while she attempted to calm him down.

Kylie Thompson, 30, was at the Tesco superstore in Lowestoft on Thursday with her nine-year-old son Riley-Jay Read when he began "lashing out violently" after he was told a Pokemon tin he'd picked up would have to be put back.

Tesco Superstore Lowestoft

Kylie and her son were at the Tesco Superstore in Lowestoft on Thursday at midday when her son became upset - Credit: Google

She said: "It's really difficult for him because he's autistic. He started screaming and hitting out, and another member of the public helped me restrain him thenĀ get him outside.

"He was having a full-blown meltdown. We had to hold his legs and carry him in front of an audience of people.

"In all the commotion I realised I'd left my shopping, bags and even glasses at the till, but was met outside by some lovely staff members who brought my things and told me 'it was on them' and I didn't have to pay anything.

"It was just one of the kindest things they could have done", she continued. "I really am so grateful to them for that."

Riley Jay-Read

Riley-Jay Read, 9 - Credit: Kylie Thompson

She added: "Riley hasn't had an episode that bad for months, but I knew as soon as I told him he wouldn't be able to have what he wanted he would kick off.

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"It's difficult for him because usually he's in school and wouldn't be shopping with me. I was so worried people would think he was just a really naughty child and me the mother who couldn't keep her son under control.

"But actually", she said, "nobody was judging me at all. They realised it wasn't his fault.

"I left the shop feeling reassured and relieved instead of embarrassed."

Riley Jay Read

Riley-Jay Read, 9 - Credit: Kylie Thompson

After posting an account of the incident on social media, Ms Thompson received hundreds of messages of support from people who had been in the store at the time.

The staff at Tesco confirmed they had seen the outpouring of appreciation on Facebook and were just glad they could help.

Ms Thompson said: "I've been shopping at this store all the way through the pandemic. I cannot fault the way they have handled things."