Every child should feel special on their birthday, no matter what kind of issues they’re facing in life. Luckily, a football coach with a big heart and his motivated high school team scored a touchdown when a little boy’s peers and parents didn’t notice.
Christian Larsen, who would then be nine years old and has autism, was very happy to have a big birthday party with all of his classmates.
He had been pleading with his mother for years to have one, but they always found a reason to keep it small or only invite family. As her son’s ninth birthday was coming up, Lindsay Larsen decided it was time to make his dream come true.
So, she sent him to school with 25 invitations for his friends’ parents, but she never heard back from them. At first, she wasn’t sure if he had given them out, but she later found out that he was so eager to do so that he was making noise in class. Lindsay’s heart broke when only one little kid said something.
“I don’t blame them for that. I know that new experiences can make us feel uncomfortable and cause us to close down. However, when you get to know someone, that strange thing that made you feel uncomfortable can turn into a quirk, and that quirk can turn into something unique as you get to know them.”
Larsen was so upset about what happened that she told her Facebook friends about it: she said that she understood, but that it was still hard to see as a mother.
She went on to say what her family thought about spreading kindness. “We’ve worked with Christian and all of our kids to teach them to accept and love everyone for who they are,” she said.
“It’s okay if people do things that make you feel uncomfortable or that you aren’t used to.
He has learned a lot about how everyone fights different battles for different reasons. All you have to do is be nice.” One of Larsen’s friends decided to contact the high school football coach in Idaho to see if he could help after seeing the message, which has now been shared dozens of times.
Coach Dan Holtry of Nampa High School quickly sent a text message to his team to see if they wanted to go to a party for kids.
“We’re in, Coach!” “They were like, ‘When do we do it? Let’s go,'” he assured, “I couldn’t believe how eager they were to help out and take care of Christian.” On the day of the party, the high schoolers did everything they said they would do and more.
They showed up wearing shirts with Christian’s name on them and yelling his name. Even better, they brought him presents, played games with the other kids, and stayed for cake.
“He couldn’t have been happier to see us!” One player, Donovan Estrada, said, “We were all so happy to be there. All he wanted was for us to play football with him, see his gifts, and stay for cake and other things.”
The football coach said, “It was just a chance to help a guy who was going through a hard time. We know what it’s like to have trouble because we’ve had our fair share of it, and we know how to solve it.”
At the end of the day, Holtry teaches his kids more than just football. He also teaches them about life.