Firefighters and police officers – and a whole crowd of kind strangers – came to the rescue when no one showed up to little Glenn Buratti's 6th birthday party.
Glenn, who has epilepsy and a mild form of autism, invited all 16 of his classmates to his party but not one of them turned up on the day. His mum Ashlee says he was so upset, he refused to smile.
'From the minute he woke up that day he wanted to know how many minutes until his friends came,' Ashlee says. 'It never crossed my mind that it would be zero. To see the look on his face killed me inside.'
Ashlee, who lives with her family in St Cloud, Florida, wrote about her upset her son was on a community Facebook page. 'I just wanted to vent to other parents who maybe had been through the same thing,' she posted. 'I know this might be something silly to rant about but my heart is breaking for my son.'
Almost immediately, people responded to Ashlee's post, asking if they could bring their children round to celebrate Glenn's birthday instead. In all, about 15 children and 25 adults showed up to the house for cake and games – and local sheriff's office organised a flyover from the sheriff's helicopter. 'Glenn was smiling the whole time and just waved,' Ashlee told the Osceola News-Gazette. 'One lady brought Glenn a brand new bike. The people who came out were so awesome.'
But the icing on the cake came 3 days later, when police officers on motorbikes and the Osceola County Fire Rescue fire fighters – and fire engine – stopped by the Buratti home to surprise Glenn.
'They said his story really touched their hearts and they wanted to do something,' Ashlee says.
The fire fighters and police officers all wished Glenn a happy birthday, gave him tours of their fire engine, squad cars, motorcycles and a SWAT vehicle and showered him with more gifts, bought from a whipround among all the officers.
'And to think, all this happened because nobody showed up to his birthday,' Ashlee posted online after the officers had left. 'The amazingness of everybody coming together for someone they didn't even know. Thank you, thank you, thank you.'
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Pictures: Facebook/John Buratti
Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies and a mum of 3. Before joining MadeForMums, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.
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