Daniel Harrison was sent scores of kind messages from strangers on his 15th birthday yesterday after his father Kevin Harrison posted a heartfelt plea on Twitter.
Kevin, from Arnold, Nottinghamshire, revealed online that his profoundly autistic son “hasn’t one friend” and that one of his birthday wishes was to “make friends”.
He also shared an image where Daniel wrote down two things that are important to him as “drive a car” and “make friends”.
Heartbroken at his son’s answer, Kevin turned to social media to request birthday messages on the teen’s special day yesterday.
And was blown away when he received thousands of replies from people from across the world – including sci-fi actors’ Mark Hamill and William Shatner.
Kevin’s post on Twitter read: “Daniel’s my son. Profoundly autistic. Hasn’t one friend. It’s his birthday today.
“In his Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) 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.”
Amazingly his post has received almost 110,000 likes and more than 45,000 comments from followers all across the globe.
Daniel received wishes from several A-list celebrities – with huge names like Mark Hamill, William Shatner and Russell Crowe sending their best wishes to the boy.
Hamill – whom Kevin revealed Daniel “idolises” – wrote: “For my friend Daniel” and attached a gif of his character Luke Skywalker, reading ‘The force is strong with this one’.
William Shatner wrote: “Daniel has more friends and admirers than he thinks! Happy birthday Daniel!!!”
Gladiator actor Russell Crowe wrote: “Happy birthday Daniel”
Thousands of other Twitter users from across the globe -including some from Melbourne, Australia and Alberta, Canada – also left kind messages.
Twitter user SomehowSane, from Florida, USA, wrote: “Happy birthday Daniel!! I am autistic too, just like you. When you are different, it can feel very lonely.
“Just remember, even when you feel alone, there are always people out there who are different in the same ways that you are different.”
@rgv_2000, from Melbourne, Australia, said: “Happy birthday Daniel. From Carter.” and attached a video of their son saying he would happily be Daniel’s friend.
@bunsenbernerbmd, from Alberta, Canada, wrote: “Hi Kev! Bunsen and Beaker the Twitter Science Dogs here.
“We would love to send Daniel some stickers of us, would he like that? Please direct message us and we will get some out ASAP!”
And Laura Bongiovanni, from New Jersey, USA , wrote: “Happy birthday, Daniel! My daughter Angelina also has autism and she also struggled for years to make friends. She now has lots of friends and I promise things will get better.”
Kevin today took to Twitter to thank everyone for their kind messages after being overwhelmed by the incredible response.
He said “I have woken up this morning touched by humanity. You all won’t know how much he suffered as a child.”
Speaking today, Kevin said: “It’s astonishing. Daniel doesn’t really understand, or show signs of understanding.”