In a heartwarming turn of events, when none of an autistic child’s classmates turned up for his sixth birthday party, the local sheriff’s office and the community of St. Cloud, Florida, came together to make it a party he’ll always remember.
Ashlee Buratti had invited her son Glenn’s class of 16 children to the boy’s birthday on February 8. However, when not a single child showed up, Glenn was devastated.
While no one RSVP-ed, Ashlee and her husband John Buratti said they were “still holding on to the hope that some of them would show up” to the birthday party for her son, who suffers from epilepsy and has a mild form of autism. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Glenn Buratti, of St. Cloud, Florida, turned six on February 8, and though his mom Ashlee Buratti had invited all 16 of his classmates to a birthday party, not a single person showed up.
2. After posting her frustration on Facebook, Buratti received messages of support from the community and people — including firemen and policemen — offered to stop by the family’s home to make it a birthday Glenn would never forget.
3. Glenn, who loves public safety and law enforcement, was overjoyed with the party, and his mom said that though he is usually shy, he took to his new friends like he’d known them all his life.
From the minute he woke up that day he wanted to know how many minutes until his friends came.
She added that the boy’s eyes welled with tears when he learned that no one was coming. The mother-of-three shared her frustration on a locally run Facebook group with more than 10,000 members titled, Osceola Rants, Raves and Reviews List, The Osceola News-Gazette reports. She wrote:
I know this might be something silly to rant about, but my heart is breaking for my son. We invited his whole class (16 kids) over for his 6th birthday party today. Not one kid came.
But when other group members read the post, they sent Ashlee messages asking if they could come and bring their own kids to Glenn’s party to celebrate.
4. The Osceola County Sheriff’s office flew a helicopter over Glenn’s house on the day of his party, and the pilot flew low enough to wave at the boy.
5. Staff from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office returned to the house three days after Glenn’s party to give him with gifts and tours of vehicles.
6. Glenn received a bicycle from one woman and toys of all sorts from strangers who came to celebrate his sixth birthday.
Ashlee’s message reached staff from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, who asked for the family’s address and promised to have a helicopter fly over their St. Cloud home.
The helicopter did come to the house within an hour, and the pilot flew low enough for Glenn to see him waving.
Glenn, who loves law enforcement and public safety, was happy with his party and his mother said that, eve though he is usually shy, the boy took to his new friends like he’d known them all along. She told Today:
In general, deputies have big hearts — they thought about their own kids and wanted to make this boy happy because it was such a sad situation.
In all, about 15 children and 25 adults turned up for the party to celebrate, eat cake, give gifts to Glenn and play in the bounce house.
7. Glenn, next to his dad, John Buratti, with his siblings and mom, Ashlee Buratti, on a trip to Disneyworld in 2014.
8. The Buratti family, with Glenn in the center in front of Barney, on a trip to Disneyworld last year. His mother Ashlee Buratti said Glenn’s birthday was ‘just amazing’ and that everyone who came out was ‘so awesome’.
9. And Glenn’s birthday celebration didn’t end on Sunday — several crews from the Sheriff’s Office and Osceola County Fire Rescue stopped by the family’s home on Wednesday.
One of the guests brought Glenn a bike, while others brought toys. Ashlee said that one man brought a camera and took photos he later gave to the family. She told The Osceola News-Gazette:
It was just amazing. The people who came out were so awesome.
And the party didn’t end on Sunday — several crews from the Sheriff’s Office and Osceola County Fire Rescue came by the family’s home on Wednesday.
Though Ashlee knew that the crews were coming, she kept it as a surprise for Glenn to see as they were on their way home from school. She told CBS News:
We got to the stop sign by our house and Glenn was like, “The fire truck’s at our house!” I said, “It’s okay, they’re there to tell you happy birthday.”
They all wished Glenn a happy birthday, gave him tours of the fire truck, squad cars, motorcycles and a SWAT vehicle and gave him more gifts. Ashlee wrote online:
And to think, all this happened because nobody showed up to his birthday. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
10. ‘We got to the stop sign by our house and Glenn was like, “The fire truck’s at our house!” I said, “It’s okay, they’re there to tell you happy birthday,”‘ Ashlee Buratti said.
11. Though Buratti knew the crews were coming, she left it a surprise for her son to see as they were on their way home from school.
12. The government officials all wished Glenn a happy birthday, gave him tours of their fire truck, squad cars, motorcycles and a SWAT vehicle and showered him with more gifts.
The boy’s dad John was also moved by the community’s celebrations. He shared photos of the events on Facebook and thanked everyone involved. He wrote:
Huge thank you to Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, Osceola County Fire Rescue and Frank who owns Koffee Kup for coming to our house today for my son Glenn’s Birthday.
He had such a great time! I’m sure the neighbors were peeking out of their windows or taking cover. Such an amazing thing for our local law enforcement and fire fighters to do for us. Thank you to everyone involved.
Ashlee told WKMG that a week after Glenn’s party, she still hadn’t heard from any of his classmates’ parents, but she wanted to thank all of the strangers who made her son’s day.
13. When no one comes to this boy’s birthday party, deputies save the day — a WKMG Orlando report.
The amazingness of everybody coming together for someone like that they didn’t even know, a kid that didn’t have anybody come to his birthday party — it warmed my heart.
Ashlee told Today that Glenn’s birthday party scenario isn’t unusual for children with autism and added that there’s a general anxiety around birthdays for parents across the world. She said:
My only advice is don’t give up. Don’t automatically assume people will ignore them ore push them away. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
14. Police deploy to save autistic boy’s birthday — a CBS News report.
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