Every now and then we meet people who are ordinary but do extraordinary things. This restores our faith in humankind.
This emotional post was shared on Facebook a couple of years ago, but it melts my heart every time I see it – so why not spread it forward?
This is about a father who tells the story of a day when a young girl walked into his office, asking permission to ask a question to their autistic child.
Many children with special needs just want the same experiences as any other child of their age. A 17-year-old’s top priority is to find a partner for the school dance. If no one accepts, it can be a big blow to his or her self-confidence.
To go alone – though not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things – can be tantamount to social ruin for a teenager; failure to secure a partner can therefore pose a serious threat to self-confidence.
Some kids can be ultra-sensitive and do not yet have the tools they need to understand everything just yet – this applies even more to children with special needs, such as autism.
Mike Larson decided to record what his son Jon, who is autistic, did as he prepared for the prom. He published the story on Facebook. It has been liked and shared by millions. Click here to read it!
Mike wrote in the caption to his prom photo: “This picture is of my son Jon and his date Maddi.” He is a senior and has autism. Maddi (a senior) came to my classroom (I am a teacher there) about a month back and asked me if Jon’s mother and I would let her take him to the prom.
Mike continued: “Maddi met Jon through a club at school that promotes friendships among special needs children and regular children. “He is a Junior,” she said, “so this is also his prom.” I think he should be able to go. I told her it would be an honor to have him with her.”
Maddi decided to bring Jon to her senior prom, and she wanted him to enjoy the night. She found out Jon’s favorite colour (orange), and bought a dress that was orange. She also booked a table for their group (they doubled with another couple) at the restaurant that served his favorite food – chicken fingers, French fries, and chocolate milk.
Maddi had asked Jon’s father whether it was okay to invite him to the dance.
Mike Larson said to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “It’s a pretty amazing moment for me.”
Mike cited three reasons why he posted the prom picture on social media.
1. “To show support for special children like Jon.”
2. “To show support for groups which promote these friendships.”
3. “to remind us that, even in times when we hear of all the horrible things that are happening, there are still wonderful kids, like Maddi, who strive to make others’ lives better.”
Mike Larson, who posted the viral photo in 2013, continued to update the public on the couple’s progress after the prom.
In 2019, he was happy to see that his text and post had received 1 million shares. He explained that everyone was doing well: “Many people have asked how Jon’s doing.” He is happy and healthy, still living in his home.”
Mike also revealed that Maddi is now married and sometimes feels “embarrassed” by all the attention – she didn’t see this as a special thing. Mike ended the post with “Thanks to everyone who has wished them well.”
Jon’s dad imagined several scenarios after his son was diagnosed with Autism more than 16 year ago. One of the scenarios he imagined was that Jon would never be able to attend a prom due to his autism. Maddi was able to make it to the prom and Jon had a great time!
Mike Larson said, “It is something that I never expected to happen in our family. And not only has it happened, but it was done so beautifully.” “And for it to continue and bless other people’s lives is beyond what I could ever have hoped.” This will be one of our best memories.
I can really appreciate that there are still nice and warm people out there – it spreads hope to us all. You can share this story with others if you like it.
This young lady is so sweet & considerate for asking his parents first I hope they had many photos taken of them to remember that special event!