King’s Guard makes rare protocol breach for tourist with Down’s syndrome
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While known around the world for their statuesque posture and no-nonsense attitude, one King's guard has been praised after breaking protocol for a very sweet reason.
The stern-faced guards have gone viral many times before when they have been seen shouting at tourists who approach their horses, or get in their way during a march, leaving people been divided over their 0-100 approach.
Of course, horses can be skittish and unpredictable - even if they're as well-trained as the guards' horses presumably are. So, walking up to one and trying to pet it is probably not a good idea unless you know the horse.
However, one King's guard has now drawn attention on duty for a very different reason indeed.
Normally, the guards maintain a still and silent poise, staring straight ahead in their highly ornate uniforms. But this guard broke the usual protocol of remaining perfectly still for one particular visitor.
Mike van Erp, 50, works as a professional carer and had taken a man he worked with out to the Horse Guards' Parade.
A video posted on YouTube shows Mike and the young man, who has Down's Syndrome, carefully and respectfully standing in an outdoor corridor close to a guard to get a picture, as many tourists do.
The pair were keeping their distance and trying not to crowd the guard - something other tourists definitely need to take note of.
But in an unexpected yet heartwarming gesture, the guard took a step closer to the pair so they could get the perfect picture for their visit.
Mike said online of the young man he was with: "I've worked for his family and him for a decade now. We were out on a cycle ride on my tandem bicycle and stopped by the Horse Guards Parade.
"I'm very grateful to the soldier. I'm lucky I had good parents and went to a Jesuit school that cared about me and taught me well, same for the young lad I'm with. Tears in my eyes."
He also clarified: "I’m also not his dad, although I’d be proud to be."
Though Mike did admit that he got a bit of 'a scare' when the guard unexpectedly took a step closer to them so they could get their picture.
The sweet gesture has been doing the rounds online, with people seemingly having their faith restored in the King's guards.
One spectator wrote: "Lovely gesture of kindness. All the guards do an exceptional job with so many tourists."
While another added: "Total respect to this Guard especially as this young lad was nervous and total respect to the lads guardian for saying thank you wish more tourists were like him."
Tourists and visitors are a regular part of the King's Guards' routines, with a huge number of visitors descending on their postings, including Buckingham Palace, every year.