King’s Guard is praised for breaking the rules for a young man with Down syndrome

A member of the King’s Guard is winning hearts around the world for breaking protocol by inching closer to a young man with Down syndrome, who was startled by the unexpected movement.

While on sentry duty at Buckingham Palace, the guards–known for being impenetrable–are required to stand at attention, perfectly still, despite being teased by intrusive tourists, who encroach on their space for photos.

One solider, stoic and seemingly unmoved, watched an older man with a “young lad” approach respectfully, and standing at a distance, the two posed for a photo.

That’s when the unexpected happened.

Tirelessly protecting Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace, members of the King’s Guard are frequently attacked for shouting at tourists who poke and provoke a response.

The soldiers are required to follow strict rules, like no laughing or smiling, and risk a fine if protocol is breached.

In certain circumstances, guards are allowed to discipline meddling tourists by shouting a warning. When standing on the ground, the warning starts with stamping–coming to a sharp attention–which is then followed by a stern “Stand back from the King’s Guard!!”

When on a horse, its reins are often grabbed by the public, and the guard will shout, “Get off the reins!”

The horses also take their jobs very seriously and openly communicate their frustration with the prodding public.

Providing evidence to the sign: “Beware Horses may kick or bite! Thank you,” a feisty horse chomped on the ponytail of a woman. Moments later, it grabbed another woman’s jacket.

The sign is posted on the wall right behind the member of the cavalry, and though it must have been incredibly difficult for the soldier to contain his laughter, he remained poised.

But not everyone is disrespectful.

Recently, Mike Van Erp, 50, who’s known online as Cycling Mikey, is a caregiver for Ibrahim, a young man with Down syndrome.

The two were out tandem cycling and took a break at the Horse Guard’s Parade, capturing their adventure on film.

In the now viral video posted, viewers can see Van Erp speaking with Ibrahim–whom he’s worked with for decades–gently explaining to keep a distance from the guard.

Standing at the entrance of an outdoor corridor, Van Erp and Ibrahim carefully approached the solder–the same who warned a tourist with stamping weeks earlier–and prepared for their photo.

And then, in a heartwarming move, the guard sidestepped a wide foot closer to the two men, startling them both.

Van Erp confessed that “both I and the young lad” had a bit of a scare “when he stepped closer to us.”

Taking to Twitter to post about their day out, Van Erp, a professional caregiver explained:

“I feel super happy and emotional after today, even a little tear in my eye,” Van Erp writes. “It’s all thanks to this King’s Guard who was so kind to the young lad I work with. Really made our day. Also glad we were both polite and respectful haha.”

Ibrahim appeared so happy in the photo, even giving two thumbs up.

As the two men walked away, Van Erp is heard saying: “What a nice man, what a cool thing to do.”

The online community jumped in with comments, praising the guard for his kindness, also acknowledging the respectful approach of the two men.

One person writes: “Lovely gesture of kindness. All the guards do an exceptional job with so many tourists.’

 “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,” while another shares, “This Guard never fails to melt my heart. That act of kindness brought a lump to my throat. What a sweetheart he is. Your kindness will come back to you young man. God Bless you.” Another netizen writes, “Much respect for this King’s Guard! He was aware of the situation, and acted with honor.”


What a wonderful moment! If you’ve ever been to Buckingham Palace and seen the guards, you’ll know how still they are, and it is so heartwarming this one soldier broke character to make Ibrahim happy! We need more people like him out there!

As for the horse, can you blame him?