Classmates didn’t come to autistic boy’s birthday, community shows up

KISSIMMEE, Florida — When none of her son’s classmates showed up to his birthday party, a Florida mother took to social media to express her despair. Within hours, her community rallied to make her little boy’s day nothing short of magical.

Glenn Buratti couldn’t wait to celebrate his 6th birthday with friends earlier this month.

Buratti extended an invitation to all 16 children in Glenn’s kindergarten class, but didn’t get a single response, according to ABC News. The day of the party came, and not one child showed up.

When she broke the news to Glenn — who is autistic and epileptic — he was heartbroken.

“He was so devastated when he realized no one was coming to his birthday party that he refused to smile,” Buratti told ABC. “He tried to hide the fact that he was crying by pinching the bridge of his nose.”

Buratti vented her frustrations on a community Facebook page with 10,000 members.

“I know this might be something silly to rant about, but my heart is breaking for my son,” she wrote. “He keeps asking, ‘When will my friends get here?’”

It wouldn’t take long for that heartbreak to turn to joy. Within minutes, Buratti had dozens of messages asking her what could be done to help save her son’s day. And then came the knocks on the door, according to Today Parents.

Local families and business owners began showing up with gifts, cards and well wishes for Glenn. Several deputies from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department stopped by as well, bearing gifts for the little boy who has a fascination with law enforcement, according to his mother. As the party grew, so did Glenn’s smile, Buratti said.

“It was probably the best gift he could have gotten,” Buratti told Today. “He was really amazed to see people come together for him.”

The Sheriff’s Department even sent a helicopter to fly over Glenn’s house in honor of his special day, ABC News reported.

But the party didn’t end that day — later in the week, the sheriff’s office and fire department sent trucks, SWAT teams and police dogs to Glenn’s house as a special gift.

“The amazingness of everybody coming together for somebody they didn’t even know, a kid that didn’t have anybody come to his birthday party, it warmed my heart,” Buratti told CBS News.

Buratti said she’s not upset with the parents of Glenn’s classmates, but hopes people will look at her son’s story and remember what a little attention might mean for a child — especially one with special needs, according to ABC News.“When you are thinking about something as simple as a birthday party, think about the child who is sitting there waiting for his friends to show up,” she said.

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