Autistic children and teens are usually keen on forging friendships but face a tough battle in doing that. Daniel Harrison is an autistic boy from Nottingham, England, and had two wishes for his 15th birthday.
His father, Kevin Harrison says that when Daniel was asked at his special needs school to write down two things he’s like to achieve, the first was to learn to drive and the second wish was to make friends.
This request shocked his parents because children with autism like to play alone, and Daniel never expressed wanting to make friends to them before. So Kevin shared Daniel’s request on social media to a small group of followers he has amassed after sharing autism awareness posts on Twitter.
The post read, “Daniel’s my son. Profoundly Autistic. Hasn’t one friend. It’s his birthday today,” Harrison wrote, requesting people to send him birthday wishes and that they care for him. This father’s heartfelt post asking people to wish his autistic son on his 15th birthday snowballed into becoming the number one post on Twitter for the U.S.
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 😣 Please wish him a happy birthday. Please show him you care. Please share. ##happybirthday #autism #rt pic.twitter.com/Psu97TSj6g
— Kev & Daniel (@kevharrison_) September 29, 2021
“I’m sitting there thinking, ‘What on Earth have I done?'” Harrison said. “And a lot of that was down to Mark Hamill, from ‘Star Wars.'”
Mark Hamill is best known for playing the role of Luke Skywalker, was one of the first to wish Daniel, his tweet alone got 17,000 likes.
Celebrities like Russell Crowe, Sharon Stone, Ariel Winter also chipped in, but most of the replies came from parents of special needs children. Twitter user Sheletta Brundridge wrote that Daniel has now got four friends in Minnesota and one of them was an autistic boy by the name Daniel too, and shared a picture of herself and her son.
He's got four friends in Minnesota and one with #autism whose name is Daniel too and we got a book we wanna send you. DM me your address so we can send him some treats including a book with his (and my son's) name on it… pic.twitter.com/jp74GxKi8b
— Sheletta Brundidge (@ShelettaIsFunny) September 29, 2021
Another dad also tweeted on the post saying that his son Jacob, was autistic as well, and celebrated his birthday last month. He added that Jacob would love to be Daniel’s friend, provided he wouldn’t mind hearing about superheroes the whole day long.
Hey Daniel, this is my son Jacob, also autistic, on his birthday last month. (We went to a trampoline park.) I’m sure he would love to be your friend if you met, provided you don’t mind hearing a whole lot about superheroes. 😂 Hope you had a wonderful day. pic.twitter.com/tMBMnrExfh
— SportsAngle (@SportsAngle) September 30, 2021
Harrison said the number of responses he got was shocking and said the reason why the story resonated with many was that people want to be loved, and liked, and it’s a universal feeling. He said the whole world right now was so badly polarized and there was no middle ground.
He added that his tweet about his son, Daniel showed there were so many beautiful and lovely people still in this world. The responses not only made Daniel very happy but also the parents and families of autistic people everywhere.
As for the other wish of Daniel’s- to drive a car, his dad said that he would have to be content playing “Mario Kart” on Nintendo for now. He concluded saying, “Don’t ever feel like you’re alone. Because I felt like that, and I know other families will. You’re not alone. Just simply that, people do love you.”