On July 15th, 2018, little Thomas turned 10 years old and organized his birthday party with his mother. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite turn out as planned. On the eve of Thomas’ birthday, she and her autistic son spent day and night working on sending out 70 invitations for his classmates. But what they didn't expect was that out of 70 classmates, only 3 responded.
"Thomas would have been devastated to hear that,” his mother said.
Thomas not only suffers from autism but has also suffered from congenital diaphragmatic hernia since his childhood. The critical illness, with a fatality rate of 60 percent, keeps Thomas Jr. at risk at all times.
"His stomach and intestines, which have migrated to the chest, require long treatments at the hospital."
When Thomas was very young, his father, a policeman, was killed during a suspect’s manhunt. Since then, he and his mother have been living on their own. Because of her son's serious illness, she knows that he’s likely to leave her one day. With that in mind, she knows how important it is for them to spend every holiday and celebration together, happily.
His 10th birthday was undoubtedly a milestone for Thomas, yet they didn't expect the invitations to generate such little interest. His mother was so sad about it that she decided not to tell him. She could only confide in her good friend that she was so upset.
All she could do was to confide in her close friend; who, upon hearing this story, did something that would change Thomas’ birthday situation for the better. She posted about it online.
On July 15th that day, to Thomas and his mother’s surprise, more than 300 motorcycle riders rolled up at their doorstep to come and celebrate this wonderful occasion with them. Among them was his father's former colleague. There is only one simple purpose for them: to accompany Thomas for his 10th birthday, an extremely important day in his life.
“Thomas is seriously ill and just wants to have a happy birthday. We can't leave a hero's son alone. My son also has autism, and hearing about Thomas’ birthday invitation story broke my heart. He deserves to be treated like any other child." said one of Thomas's father colleague.
This man couldn't hold his tears back. Too many emotions. They not only brought him a birthday cake and presents but also helped him dye his hair with a brand new color and style. And to top it all off, they made a special T-shirt for him. Thomas was so happy on that day, he high-fived with every single person.
We can see that he waved hands around with his thumbs up as a sign of gratitude and happiness, and tried his best to communicate with the knights around him. This is a miracle for autistic children.
What's more, when people sang happy birthday to him, Thomas started to dance. Everyone couldn't help but applaud and cheer for him. They were out in force because they knew in advance that Thomas liked motorcycles. Thomas's mother secretly wiped her tears away. She knew how much this meant to him:
"He could feel that he was important. He felt loved and accepted, and whispered in my ear: Today is a happy day.”
And as the heart-warming riders began to return when dusk fell, they surprised Thomas one last time: "Kid, if you want, we’ll spend every birthday with you until you turn 18, deal?"
In the most difficult and helpless moment of this ill child, everyone gathered to protect him and give him the most intimate celebration he never asked for but genuinely loved.
Worldwide, 67 million people have autism. Accept and respect autistic people. Create opportunities to integrate them into society, and allow them to live with dignity. They deserve it more than anyone else.
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