Planning a birthday celebration is always exciting. You get to choose a theme, pick out an outfit, plan the menu, and so much more. What makes it even more fun is knowing your closest friends will be there for the actual party.
But for Christian Larsen, things turned out a bit differently.
Christian is nine years old and has autism. For his birthday, he wanted to invite his whole class. He had a theme picked out, the invitations were ready… all that was left to do was wait for the day of the party.
But his mom only heard back from one girl. The rest of the class didn’t respond to the invitation.
“I don’t blame them for that, I understand that behaviors and things that we’re not used to can make us uncomfortable and make us shut down, but when you get to know someone that thing that was strange, that made you uncomfortable, that can become just a quirk and the quirk can become something special as you get to know them.”
Though Christian’s mom was very understanding about the situation, she couldn’t help but let out her feelings in writing which she shared on Facebook.
“At first I was just hoping that with the end of the year chaos, that the invitations were overlooked. But, after seeing the personal interactions, I’m thinking maybe there is more. The hardest thing is I do understand.”
A friend of hers saw the post and thought of reaching out to the Nampa High School Football coach, Dan Holtry. Then, she got in touch with Christian’s mom to tell her about the idea she had, which was to bring the football team to Christian’s birthday party.
The coach was more than willing to help out. He sent a text to his team to let them know about Christian’s party.
The athletes were eager to make Christian’s day extra special, much to the delight of Coach Holtry.
Christian was beyond himself with excitement when the Nampa Football team showed up to his party, chanting his name.
He even recalls how he pretended to pass out when he saw them all. The boys of the football team were really happy about the birthday celebrant’s reaction to their surprise. Aside from showing up to surprise Christian, the football team also gave him gifts.
Coach Holtry feels honored that the team was part of Christian’s birthday party.
In his own words, he says,
“It was just an opportunity to take care of a guy that was going through adversity, and we’re blessed here at Nampa High School. We have a lot of great kids. We know about adversity and we have our fair share, and we know how to fight through it.”
Christian’s mom was overjoyed about the new friendship that formed between Christian and the football team.
“One of the biggest pieces of autism is the social piece. They can teach him the back and forth of playing. They can help him build relationships not only with them but with kids his own age. They are just marvelous, marvelous young men.”
Thanks to the coach and his team, Christian’s birthday was unforgettable. He now looks forward to the football games and will definitely be the one cheering loudest for the team.
Enjoy the happy ending by watching the video below!
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.