A high school football team in Idaho came to the rescue to help celebrate 9-year-old Christian Larsen, after finding out that only one of his classmates was planning to attend his birthday party. According to his mother, Lindsay Larsen, she passed out invitations to her 9-year-old son’s classroom of 25 students two months before Christian’s birthday party. Despite the mother waiting a few days, only one person RSVP’d to celebrate with the family.
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On social media, the mother stated in a Facebook post that she was disappointed with the whole situation since Christian has autism and it is hard for him to make friends. Yet, she didn’t blame the kids or parents for not attending, since she understood that sometimes it can get complicated when it comes to understanding someone with special needs. Still, the mother kept her head up saying that although it would be a small party, she would make the most of it to make sure those attending, especially Christian, had a good time.
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A while after posting her heartfelt status, a family friend of Larsen, Blythe Ben-David, saw her Facebook post and quickly decided to reach out to Nampa High School Football Coach Dan Holtry. Her husband had played college football with Holtry a town over from where the Larsen family lives, 20 minutes away. The coach wanted to help make up for Christian’s birthday party, quickly sending out a text to the seniors. Eight players quickly agreed in a matter of seconds, eager to be a part of the action and celebrate with the boy and his family.
One of the Napa High School football players, Donovan Estrada, attended the science-themed birthday party, saying, “Instantly I wanted to do it, and I know these guys did too! Right away we texted back yeah, let’s do it, we’re in! He just looked so happy to see us! We were all so excited to be there and all! He just wanted to play football with us, showing the presents that he got, he wanted us to stay for cake and stuff like that.”
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So, there was Christian, waiting for his friends, only to be surprised by a whole football team dressed in their jerseys and chanting his name as they arrived to show their support for the boy. The mother posted a video of the interaction on Facebook, showing the boy in complete shock as he falls to the ground and quickly runs to give them a high-five. As a birthday present, the team pitched in and gave the boy two footballs and a game to play with his brother and sisters. Larsen said that Christian often plays alone and usually wanders off, but the team took good care of Christian, being very patient and leveling down to set up and organize games of football with Christian and some of the neighbors attending the party.
Ah, I love these kinds of stories. Sometimes all it takes is a little act of kindness to realize that there is still good in the world. The coach is definitely doing something right. What a fun way to celebrate a ninth birthday.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 6, 2019.