05/20/2015 12:08 EDT | Updated 05/20/2016 05:59 EDT

Security guard hailed as hero for helping teen with autism

A woman whose son is on the autism spectrum made sure a young security guard was recognized as a hero for helping when the 15-year-old boy became distraught at a mall in Thornhill.

Laura Kirby McIntosh was able to track down Ana Abreu and nominate her for a Community Hero Award, which will be handed out to her on Thursday.

Over the years, many have helped Kirby McIntosh when her son Cliff has struggled with an overload of emotions while in public.

So it's fitting that Ana will accept the award — as she insists — on behalf of all those strangers, including people who offered to help the pair at Promenade Mall until she could arrive at the scene.

Kirby McIntosh says it began when Cliff lost his sunglasses and became overwhelmed.

"It was going to be a big one," she remembers as a crowd started to gather.

The two women were guests Wednesday morning on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

Click on the video to hear the full story as host Matt Galloway finds out how Ana Abreu used her calm personality and sound intuition to reassure both mother and son.