Andrew Christian
October 20, 2011

The Real Story of the Autistic Teen who Fled Burbank Airport & Landed at the Abbey

NOTE: Please read the update at the bottom of this article.

Cameron James Smith made it on every news affiliate yesterday afternoon when he ran away from Burbank airport only to be found ordering a vodka orange juice at the Abbey.

The wait staff recognized the runaway boy from the news & asked for ID before serving him a regular orange juice. When asked for his name Cameron told the Abbey Manager, Nick Lambert, that his name was George. Nick showed Cameron his photo on the news and Cameron bolted. He kicked off his freshly acquired Casual Cool boat shoes in the park & ran into Pizza Rustica where he asked to use the restroom. He locked himself in & eventually surrendered to Lambert when he sat a table in the pizza shop.

The story the media portrays is that of "an autistic child is safe today after running away from the Burbank airport when his mother failed to ensure his safe departure". The media won't tell you that Cameron is gay, that he's being shipped away for his homosexual tendencies (again) or that he'll be bullied into a closet for the next four years no thanks to his parents.

Cameron didn't run away from school. He simply fled to the only gay sanctuary he'd ever heard of, hoping that someone there could save him. It was almost as if he was told "It gets Better" by a president who believes that marriage equality should be left up to the state & when he tried to seek sanctuary the universe said "not today kid!" Without realizing it Cameron's only hope was to land on safe soil but unfortunately this young man didn't flee Cuba & the Abbey is not Miami beach aka freedom.

So as important as it is to recognize the boys who committed suicide this month it's more important to recognize the one who reached out for help but was never heard. Cameron is already being sent packing, back to some bleak second rate version of a life away from his family.

When asked for comment Abbey founder David Cooley had this to say:

This brave young man was in the process of being returned to the state of Utah where being gay is not tolerated. Cameron obviously fled to the Abbey because it's renowned for being a safe haven for members of the gay community & my heart pours out to him during this difficult time in his life. I hope Cameron knows he has a family here & that he touched our lives in a very powerful way today.

We hope that someone reaches out to this boy, while he's still alive before it's too late. The boy who had the balls to follow a path that didn't end in suicide. Maybe GLADD, EQCA or HRC could reach out to Cameron... or are they too busy worrying about your checkbooks?

If you dare, take a look at what Cameron's life may now look like by clicking here.

Love & Light,
Neo & Soju B.



  1. O Yeah David Cooley, abbey is known for being a safe haven for drug addicts, fat bachelorette parties, porn stars, half naked GoGO Boys and Abel everyones favorite Drug dealer! You really kept him safe, not even letting him finish his drink, sure you took his money before turning him in! Hopefully when the boy runs away again he will Venture to Fiesta where his well, OJ won't be 12 dollars but 2 for 1!

  2. Cameron came into the beauty shop where I work around 4 o'clock that day. We didn't realize he was a runaway. He was trying to buy some bleach for his hair, and apparently had asked my coworker in the front of the store if she knew of a shelter where he could stay. I wish I'd have overheard that part of the conversation; maybe he could have been directed to the Gay & Lesbian Center, where someone trained to handle that sort of situation could have helped him. My other coworker saw the ordeal on the news, and portrayed it as a kid running away from school, but I'm pretty sure that's just a facade that was designed to put a socially acceptable face over the real reasons for his running away. My heart goes out to him.

  3. As a autism consultant, this disgusts me. THIS is why I fight the obsessive movement to "track" us, to "track" MY PEOPLE, like we're rabid dogs waiting to be put down! How many other kids, just because they're on the spectrum, got shipped off to torture facilities on their parents' dime, with the parents getting away with it by playing the autism card?! Even if Cameron's the only victim of this bullshit, that's too many.

  4. I don't think he came to The Abbey for "help." He ordered a fucking vodka orange juice. When questioned by the manager he ran. He ran far! Not exactly looking for help. David is always one to try to get press for anything. Like when Liz Taylor died. David you NEVER KNEW LIZ! Stop the candlelit ceremonies!

  5. I appreciate the comment, even shared it on my facebook, What is a bit upsetting though is you have a Naked Penis Pic at the bottom of the article. This really is below low rent and doesnt give you much credibility as a news source.

  6. As a runaway of another one of the BAD programs of the past...I really hope he makes it. There are a lot of twists and turns to navigate, just focus on what you want and where you want to be... Do we know where he is now? What is happening? Any campaigns to help?

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