When This Dad Asked for Birthday Wishes For His Autistic Son, Tens of Thousands of People Responded

“If I have reached one person and made them look at another child differently, I’ve done my job.”

Kev Harrison tweeted a photo of his 15-year-old son Daniel explaining it was his birthday and that his two wishes are to learn to drive and make friends. “Please wish him a happy birthday. Please show him you care,” tweeted Kev, who lives in Nottingham, England.

Love started pouring in from strangers, celebrities and more, and the tweet has been viewed over 14 million times and now has over 124k likes.

Kev decided to post the tweet after he and his wife, Catherine, read Daniel’s education, health and care plan — part of a government program to help support young people with special needs. In response to one portion of the document that asked what is important to Daniel or what he would like to do, he wrote “drive a car” and “make friends.”

“It broke our hearts,” said the father. Daniel attends a special-needs school but has yet to form any friendships. “He walks around the playground on his own, in his own little world,” said Kev.

Daniel is on the severe end of the autism spectrum. He is verbal but gives “standard responses only” and struggles to hold conversations. “He has been through a lot in his 15 years,” said Kev, who also has a 20-year-old daughter. “He is a lovely, kind, sweet boy. He does not have a nasty bone in his body.”

To raise awareness about autism and make his son feel loved on his birthday, he decided to post on Twitter — and it went on to become the #1 most trending post in the United States. “It was astonishing,” Harrison said. “I didn’t think for one minute that the response would be anything like it was.”

Mark Hammill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, was one of many celebrities who reached out. “For my friend Daniel,” followed by a GIF that says: “The force is strong with this one.”

Journalist Jake Tapper, actor Russell Crowe and activist Erin Brockovich are some other notable names who wished Daniel a happy birthday. “He was jumping up and down,” said Kev. 

Many people did good deeds in honor of Daniel’s birthday. “I just paid for the order behind me at Starbucks,” one person wrote. “I donated to a local food bank,” said another.

Kev is still combing through all of the responses, but he said, “If I have reached one person and made them look at another child differently, I’ve done my job.”

Image source: The Washington Post