Harry’s eleventh birthday wish was to go bowling with his friends. However, he was unable to invite them because the mothers of his friends forbade them from playing with a boy with autism. The birthday boy was nearly abandoned, but his mother performed a true miracle. Harry, ten, only had two friends because it can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder to make new friends.
He was about to turn eleven, and he and his mother decided to plan a small celebration: bowling with ice cream — and invite friends. Hannah was preparing to sign invitations to a children’s party. “Just give me the names of the people you want to call,” she said. Harry mentioned two names before telling Mom that they couldn’t invite these people. The boy appeared befuddled and heartbroken.
He told his mother that his friends’ parents forbade them from playing together because “they don’t like Harry.” Hannah nearly burst into tears, but she gathered herself and began to look for a way to save the holiday. “It astounds me how many people don’t grasp the essence of Harry’s problems.” After all, it’s not about children with special needs, but about parents of “ordinary” children who don’t understand what their children are saying,
and then the children repeat these unacceptable things.”She wrote a post on her Facebook page about her autistic son and asked people to send him birthday greetings in order to brighten his day. Her mailbox was overflowing with colorful envelopes a few days later, and they kept coming and coming. People from all over the world sent him postcards with encouraging messages.
“Harry, you’re incredible! Strong, courageous, loving, and kind. Don’t try to fit in; instead, be yourself — an amazing person. Don’t even think about believing those who say or believe you’re not good enough!” Harry received hundreds of letters with encouraging words from people all over the world. He read and reread them several times. Hannah’s post went viral, and neighbors began writing to her, asking if they could attend a bowling party.
She said yes, but she had no idea that not only adults, but also children, would attend. Three dozen kids in town said they’d be delighted to attend Harry’s party. There were enough of them to fill five lanes at the local bowling alley! “It was the best birthday I’ve ever had,” Harry remarked.
Hannah is relieved that her son’s birthday was a success, and she hopes that Harry’s story will serve as an example. And fewer and fewer young boys and girls will be lonely on their birthdays, and fewer and fewer people will say cruel and thoughtless things. A similar story happened to Daniel, a 15-year-old boy; it’s a good thing that there is still kindness in the world.