A member of the King’s Guard has won praise after going out of his way to make a young man with Down’s syndrome feel comfortable.
The video of Mike van Erp, 50, better known by his YouTube moniker CyclingMikey, and the young man posing for a picture at Buckingham Palace caused a stir after it was shared on YouTube, thanks to the way the situation was handled by everyone.
Known worldwide for being silent and still, it’s the King’s Guard’s job to perform duties outside the official royal residence, and even when tourists try to distract them, they are expected to stand still.
However, the footage shows how a kind-hearted member of the Guard approached Mike and the boy as he tried to take a picture to remember their trip to the Horse Guards Parade.
Taking to Twitter to post about their day, Mike, a professional carer, explained: ‘I’ve worked for her family and her for a decade now. We cycled out on my tandem cycle and stopped near Horse Guards Parade.’
The King’s Guard surprises tourists with a sweet gesture so they can get their picture taken
Mike made sure that his duty was to know that he could not touch or get too close to the soldier and to respect his space.
She admitted that ‘both me and the young man’ were a bit scared ‘when she came near us’ because it was so unexpected, adding: ‘It brought tears to my eyes for a couple of evenings.’
After Twitter users initially assumed Mike was the boy’s father, he clarified: ‘I’m not his father either, although I would be proud.’
‘I am very grateful to the soldier,’ he continued. ‘I’m lucky I had good parents and I went to a Jesuit school that took care of me and taught me well, the same for the young man I’m with. My tears.’
Over the past few years, the King’s Guard have gained a bad reputation on social media as videos have been shown of how they shout at members of the public or at horses when they get too close.
Understandably when Mike and the boy he was looking after wanted to stand close enough to the guards to take a picture, they were very careful about encroaching on his personal space.
In the short clip shared by The Royal King’s Guards England channel on YouTube, a guard is seen standing in the middle of the entrance to the outer corridor.
As people walked by many stopped to take pictures of the sentinel but one man and his child decided to walk carefully to take a picture next to it.
Gently trying to keep the boy from touching the guard or getting too close, Mike can be heard reminding him to keep his distance.
Standing a good foot or so apart, the pair posed for pictures but were surprised when the guard moved closer to them so they could get the perfect picture.
Visibly startled, the younger boy jumped a little as the king’s guard walked past the two of them.
After making sure to thank the soldier, Mike was heard saying as they left: ‘What a lovely man, what a great job.’
The sweet and respectful moment delighted viewers who rushed to share their thoughts and comments on the scene.
One person wrote: ‘Lovely gesture of kindness. All the guards do an exceptional job with so many tourists.’
Another social media user added: ‘Full respect to this guard especially as this young man was nervous and full respect to the boy guardian for saying thank you if more tourists were like him’
‘This guard never fails to melt my heart. That act of kindness brought a lump to my throat. Is she a sweetheart? Your kindness will return to you young man. God bless you,’ someone else wrote.
And the fourth person wrote: ‘So much respect for this king’s guard! He was aware of the situation and acted respectfully.’
The boy was delighted to be so close to the soldier in uniform and stuck his thumbs up as he posed for a picture.
Viewers who watched the clip were delighted to see such a sweet and respectful exchange and rushed to congratulate all involved.
Although this young man and Mike treated the king’s guard with respect, not every tourist is the same.
Footage from earlier this year showed the shocking moment a woman beat up a Kings Guard for ‘pushing’ her while he was doing his duty.
The incident, which has gone viral on TikTok, shows the blonde woman standing in the way of a guard at a Horse Guards parade.
The woman holding a blue can of Pringles was seen standing very close to a mounted guard, while other passers-by stood further away to give the guards more room.
As the king’s guard on foot asked the woman to step back as she first passed him to greet her fellow guards, she moved closer to the mounted guard’s agitated horse.
As the guard who had warned her earlier turned towards the gate, the woman was on her way.
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