Teenager Daniel Harrison’s wish to make friends came true this year on his 15th birthday after his father shared a tweet that went viral thanks to the kindness of strangers!
“Daniel’s my son. Profoundly Autistic. 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,” Kevin Harrison’s tweet wrote. “Please wish him a happy birthday. Please show him you care. Please share.”
Since then, Kevin’s tweet has been viewed over 14 million times, accumulating over 122,000 likes! According to The Washington Post, “Thousands of total strangers – including more than a few celebrities – sent birthday wishes for his son and offered their friendship.”
Kevin decided to post his tweet after reading Daniel’s education, health, and care plan (EHCP). Knowing his son didn’t have any real friendships, even after attending school for people with special needs, was hard to accept. Daniel’s Autism is on the more severe end of the spectrum, resulting in difficulty speaking with others and engaging in conversation, and ultimately making it tough to cultivate relationships with the kids at school.
While these challenges are real, there is so much more to Daniel that his father wants people to see. Kevin told The Washington Post, “He is a lovely, kind, sweet boy. He does not have a nasty bone in his body.” And so Kevin posted on Twitter for Daniel’s birthday, in hopes of “raising awareness about autism and making his son feel loved on his special day.”
Views, likes, and shares began flooding Kevin’s notifications almost immediately after posting. And soon the tweet was filled with countless comments offering birthday wishes, encouragement, and friendship to Daniel. Even a few celebrities reached out to show their support, including Russell Crowe, William Shatner, and Mark Hamill.
However, it wasn’t just celebrities that connected with Kevin and Daniel as a result of Kevin’s tweet. Several parents of children with special needs reached out too, letting Daniel know that their children would love to be friends with him. A young boy named Olly recorded himself reciting a birthday poem for Daniel and a young girl named Lennie replied to Kevin’s tweet with a video of herself playing ‘Happy Birthday’ on the piano.
People were even contacting Kevin to find out if they could send Daniel gifts! But, Kevin told The Washington Post that instead, he asked them to “do something kind for somebody. I’m a strong believer that good deeds should be passed along.” And the best part? People actually took Kevin’s suggestion seriously and started sharing their acts of kindness in the post’s comments!
According to The Washington Post, Kevin “hopes the huge reaction to his tweet will encourage people to show kindness to those with special needs.” And we’re willing to bet that it has and is doing just that. So, in closing, we want to say thank you to Kevin for being such an incredible father and ally, and for inspiring so many people around the world to be kind!