One Michigan mom has started a massive, online party to make sure her 10-year-old son has a happy birthday.
Jennifer of Kalamazoo's son Colin is into Doctor Who and Pokemon and loves to greet people as they come through the doors of his church. He also has Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that affects his social skills. His birthday is March 9, and when the subject of having a party came up, he told Jennifer that there was "no point."
"[When I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn't a point because he has no friends," Jennifer wrote on a Facebook page she created for him on February 2. "He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone to be unhappy with his presence, he sits alone in the office."
Jennifer set up the Facebook page "Happy Birthday Colin" in order to ask people to post some good thoughts or nice wishes for her son's upcoming 11th birthday.
"I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party," she wrote in the page's first announcement.
Less than two weeks after she posted her request, the page has more than 1 million likes and numerous comments from people around the world wishing Colin well and telling him how special he his. Other people with Asperger's have also submitted online notes to Colin, telling him he is not alone.
Some people even took pictures with banners or baked goods, and Jennifer opened a P.O. box for people requesting an address to send Colin a card. She posted a picture of herself beaming, with hands full of cards. "Colin still doesn't know [I hope] so I have to hide these!" she wrote.
And that's the kicker: So far, this birthday present, which thousands upon thousands of kind people have helped put together, is going to be a complete surprise.
To date, Jennifer has been updating Colin's new friends with little tidbits from his life, and reminding them to keep the surprise a secret.
Here's a little sampling of well-wishes from Colin's new Internet fans:
"Happy birthday buddy. I too struggled in school to fit in, and I remember many days feeling and being alone...Reach for your dreams and you will connect to those who want to love you for who you are. It takes time and work but you can do it." -- Jason C.
"Colin, there are kids like you everywhere. I wish you could all connect and be friends but you hang in there. You are going to create a life that is great after school someday. You are a great kid and loved! Happy Birthday buddy!" -- Michele B.
"Happy birthday Colin. from Verona, Italy the city of love." -- Giovanna P.
"Happy Birthday Colin! Lots of love from Thailand!" -- Chatkaew C.
"I hope you have the happiest of birthdays, Colin. Don't worry that you may be a bit different from others, because the greatest people in history were 'different' from others and it is the differences that gave us people like Albert Einstein and even Ben Franklin." -- Linda F.