WATCH ABOVE: After his classmates didn’t show up to his birthday party, an autistic boy’s mother sent out a plea for help on Facebook and the heartwarming story of a community coming together unfolded. Erik Sandoval reports.
TORONTO – Living with autism can be an isolating experience — especially for a child. And for one Florida child earlier this month, his birthday started off no different.
Six-year-old Glenn Buratti, who has epilepsy and a mild form of autism, was devastated, according to this mother, when none of his classmates showed up for his birthday party.
“To see the look on his face killed me inside,” his mother Ashlee Buratti told WKMG. She also claims that the no-show was so devastating that Glenn refused to smile.
Buratti wanted desperately to help her heartbroken son, so she turned to Facebook and posted a rant in a closed group called Osceola Rants, Raves & Reviews List.
“We invited his whole class (16 kids) over for his 6th birthday party today. Not one kid came,” Buratti said in the post. “I feel so bad for my son. He keeps asking, ‘When will my friends get here?'”
Those friends never showed up. But the Facebook post gained traction and before they knew it, the local community began to rally support. That same day, according to the Osceola News-Gazette, about 15 kids and 25 adults — including law enforcement and fire officials — made an appearance at their St. Cloud, Florida home in the Orlando suburbs.
“One lady brought him a brand new bike,” his mother told the paper. “One guy brought his camera and spent most his time snapping pictures of our family, which he gave to us. It was just amazing. The people who came out were so awesome.”
Even the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office got involved, sending its helicopter past the Buratti’s home for a fly-by, which may or may not have been cooler than sitting in the driver’s seat of a local fire truck.
“He had such a great time,” John Buratti posted on Facebook. “I’m sure the neighbors were peeking out of their windows or taking cover.”
“The amazingness of everybody coming together for someone that they didn’t even know,” his mother added. “A kid that didn’t have anybody come to his birthday party. It warmed my heart.”
A gofundme fundraiser has also been launched to add to the generosity.
Meanwhile, according to WKMG’s report, Buratti still hasn’t heard anything from Glenn’s classmates who didn’t attend — or their parents.