Life of the party: How Facebook, and a Florida community, rescued an autistic boy’s birthday

A Florida community rallied around a heartbroken 6-year-old boy with autism – in an amazing way – after no one showed up for his birthday party.

Like most kids his age, Glen Buratti was hoping to have a fun-filled day with classmates that was planned around his birthday.

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His mother, Ashlee Buratti, said that they had invited Glen’s entire class to the party and although no one RSVP’d, she never imagined that not one person would show up.

“To see the look on his face killed me inside,” Ashlee Buratti told Local 6 Orlando.

With her son refusing to smile and feeling like a failed parent, Ashlee turned to a local Facebook community page with the hopes of finding others who may have been through a similar situation.

“I know this might be something silly to rant about, but my heart is breaking for my son. We invited his whole class over for his 6th birthday party today. Not one kid came. He keeps asking ‘when will my friends get here?’ Poor kid. I feel so bad for him.”

Local residents didn’t find her post silly at all. Instead, her online confession prompted an overwhelming show of support for the heartsick mother and child.

Strangers – now friends – began showing up with their kids and gifts in tow for Glen.

But the party was just getting started.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was an impromptu flyover by the local sheriff’s helicopter.

“One of our friends put him on their shoulders and Glenn was smiling the whole time and waved. It was amazing,” Buratti said.

Police deputies of Osceola County pooled together their own money and brought gifts to Glenn, according to 6 Orlando. Even the fire department made an appearance with their fire truck.

One week after the impromptu party Buratti says she never heard anything from the parents of the kids who never RSVP’d or showed up. But thanks to a thoughtful community, it hasn’t squashed her faith in humanity.

“The amazingness of everybody coming together for someone that they didn’t even know,” she said. “A kid that didn’t have anybody to come to his birthday party. It warmed my heart.”


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