For anyone with or who knows someone with Autism, they know how much harder certain aspects of their lives can be. One of the most challenging is the social side of life. For people with Autism, especially severe forms, making friends can be quite challenging. This is what broke this boy’s parents when he wrote out that one of his wishes was to make friends. For his birthday, his dad decided to try and make that wish come true. This is what happened.
Dad’s Viral Tweet Make’s Son With Autism’s Birthday Wish Come True
One night near their son Daniel’s birthday, his dad Kevin Harrison and mom Catherine were reading over his education, health, and care plan (EHCP). This is part of a UK government program to determine the level of support needed for people with special needs. They receive this report because Daniel has severe Autism. (1)
In the report, there is a section for Daniel to write down things that are important to him or things that he would like to do. In this section, he said he wanted to drive a car and make friends. It was the second wish that broke his parents’ hearts.
Kevin explained that Daniel is on the more severe end of the Autism spectrum. He is verbal, however, he only gives standard responses. Communication is tough and engaging in conversations with others is even harder. For most of his life, he has preferred to play alone and hasn’t shown much interest in making friends. Apparently, however, that has changed.
The Viral Tweet
It was coming up to Daniel’s 15th birthday and Kevin wanted to make him feel special. He posted on Twitter explaining his son’s situation and what one of his wishes was. Then, he asked the people of Twitter to help him make his son feel special on his birthday – to make his son feel loved.
“Daniel’s my son. Profoundly Autistic,” he wrote. “Hasn’t one friend. It’s his birthday today. In his ECHP he wrote that his two wishes were to learn to drive and make friends. Please wish him a happy birthday. Please show him you care. Please share.” (2)
Kevin expected maybe a few responses from his followers who knew him and his son. He did not expect thousands of people from around the world – including some pretty famous and influential ones – to send their best wishes. He and Catherine were completely shocked.
The Tweet began collecting likes, shares, and replies until it was the number one trending topic on Twitter in the United States. Much of that reach came from one rather famous person in particular. (3)
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May The Force Be With You
That’s right, none other than Mark Hamill from Star Wars saw the tweet and responded. He was one of the first celebrities to respond, and his tweet alone collected 17,000 likes. The Luke Skywalker actor wrote:
“For my friend Daniel” along with a gif image with the words “The Force is strong with this one.”
More celebrities joined in on the Twitter party, giving the message an even greater reach. Celebrity responders included Russel Crowe, Sharon Stone, and Ariel Winter. Beyond celebrities, many of the thousands upon thousands of responses were from other parents of children with Autism. Their message was simple: Daniel is not alone and does have friends all over the country and the world.
For my friend Daniel: 🎂 pic.twitter.com/gBIzuEb9Sk— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) September 29, 2021
Messages From Other Parents
The messages from other parents with children with Autism really meant a lot to Daniel and especially to his parents. Raising a child with Autism is both wonderful and very very hard. At times, it can be quite heartbreaking. Their messages didn’t just support Daniel, they supported Kevin and Catherine as well.
“He’s got four friends in Minnesota and one with #autism whose name is Daniel too,” wrote one mom along with a photo of her son.
“Hey Daniel, this is my son Jacob, also autistic, on his birthday last month,” wrote another dad who also shared a photo. “I’m sure he would love to be your friend if you met, provided you don’t mind hearing a whole lot about superheroes. Hope you had a wonderful day.”
The parents reported that Daniel was jumping around the room with happiness and excitement at all the messages he had received. Harrison says this is a reminder for everyone that no matter who you are, everyone just wants to be loved. It is also a reminder that there still is some good out there in such a crazy world. For those with Autism or families with a child with Autism, Harrison has this to say:
“Don’t ever feel like you’re alone. Because I felt like that, and I know other families will. You’re not alone. Just simply that, people do love you.”
- “A dad asked for birthday wishes for his autistic son. Tens of thousands of people responded.” Washington Post. October 5, 2021.
- Kev & Daniel’s #autism journey (& Bruce ) – @kevharrison_. Twitter. September 28, 2021.
- “A boy with autism said he wished to make friends. On his birthday he got more than 55,000 messages from people around the world.” CBS News. October 4th, 2021.