Special Needs Now

40+ Strangers Surprise a Birthday Boy With Autism

Glenn Buratti
Glenn Buratti, who has mild autism and epilepsy, couldn't wait to celebrate his sixth birthday! His mom, Ashlee, invited all 16 kids in his Florida elementary class to a birthday party, but no one responded.

Despite this, Glenn and Ashlee were still hopeful that last-minute party guests would arrive to eat cake and play in a bounce house. But when the party day and time came, no one showed up.

The birthday boy tried to fight back tears, while his equally devastated mom took to Facebook to express their pain. "I know this might be something silly to rant about, but my heart is breaking for my son," Ashlee wrote. "We invited his whole class (16 kids) over for his 6th birthday party today. Not one kid came...He keeps asking 'when will my friends get here?'"

In a matter of minutes, strangers responded to Ashlee's post and offered to bring their kids to the birthday party. A total of 15 kids and 25 adults showed up and brought along some amazing gifts, including a bicycle and a camera.

But a few more birthday surprises were still in store: The local sheriff's department had a helcopter fly over the party, and a few days later, stopped by the house with gifts and with a motorcade of "police cars, fire trucks, a SWAT van, and a canine unite" reports ABC News.

Needless to say, Glenn had an unforgettable birthday! Ashlee took to Facebook again to express her gratitude: "You don't know how much this meant to us today....Thank you, thank you, thank you." And Glenn's dad, John, also shared his thanks, along with photos, on Facebook.

Even though no parent has responded to apologize for skipping the party, Ashlee is choosing to focus on the positive. "The amazingness of everyone coming together for someone they didn't even know...it just warmed my heart," she told CBS New York.

This isn't the first time that unbelievable kindness from strangers have made birthdays special for kids with special needs. Last year, millions of birthday cards were sent to 11-year-old Colin and last month, a 14-year-old with autism received a Kirby vacuum.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Screenshot of Glenn Buratti from the CBS New York news segment above