An autistic boy who wrote that he had "no friends" in a heartbreaking letter posted to social media by his father, has now received a slew of letters and packages from people all across the country.
Bob Cornelius recently posted the story of his autistic son, Christopher, to social media, reports the Daily Mail. Bob visited Christopher at his son’s back-to-school event, where Christopher handed him a worksheet he was required to fill out. On the worksheet, Christopher was asked to identify things like his teacher and his favorite food. Next to the names of his friends, Christopher wrote, "No one."
It was only then that Bob realized Christopher was lonely and crying out for friendship and acceptance. So he took to social media, asking parents to teach their children to respect the differences of others. That post was shared 50,000 times and, since the posting, letters and packages have been arriving in the mail for Christopher from all over the country.
The local fire department and sheriff's department stopped by to hang out with Christopher, and even gave him a uniform. Christopher often wears it to school because other kids reportedly like when he does.
Bob has also received numerous letters from parents of autistic children claiming to have had similar experiences.
Bob says he was inspired by the story of Travis Rudolph, the Florida State football player who visited a local middle school and noticed a boy, Bo, sitting by himself at lunch. So Rudolph sat and ate with the boy. A teacher snapped a photo of the two and posted to social media, and since then, other kids have been sitting and eating with Bo every day at lunch.
“If that football player had not sat down next to that child, and if it hadn't become a national news story, that kid would still be sitting by himself today,” Bob wrote on Facebook. “And it's not their fault.... that's the saddest part,” he continued. “They were clearly not taught to embrace and accept the differences of others.’”
Bob wrote a message on Facebook to all parents:
The only solution I can come up with is to share this with you and ask that you have a conversation with your kids. Please tell them that children with special needs understand far more than we give them credit for. They notice when others exclude them. They notice when they are teased behind their back. But mostly they are very much in tune when they are treated differently from everyone else. Trust me when I tell you this hurts them. Even if it's not obvious to you and me.