Much has been made of the good folks of Osceola County, Florida, who showed up en masse to wish a six year-old boy a happy birthday when no one else did.
Glenn's mom Ashlee invited the whole class of 16 —16 kids— and not a single one came to the birthday party. If your heart just broke, consider that little Glenn Buratti has autism and epilepsy.
When Ashlee lamented over the no-shows on Facebook, locals—including firefighters and police officers—descended on the house, bearing gifts. They let Glenn sit in their trucks and astride their motorcycles. At one point even the County Sheriff's office flew a chopper over the party and the pilot waved at the kid.
The story went viral and the Internet, predictably, gushed at the overarching kindness of strangers.
Yet this blogger's heart stayed shattered in pieces for this boy and his family. For the kids who didn't show up, and all the parents who made that call for them. Really, is it too much to ask to have some fun at a kid's house? I mean, cake!
I blame the parents for lacking the courtesy and kindness to do this one little thing. After all, what's an hour of your time? What's $20 out of your wallet? No, I don't blame the kids. After all, they're barely out of kindergarten. It's unlikely they're all that selective about the parties they attend. (Is there such a thing as a bad party when you're six? See: cake.)
As a parent to an autistic child, I see this sort of thing every day in forums and support groups. "This is X. Please wish him/her a happy birthday!" The well wishes of total strangers on Facebook has got to be the ultimate in pity parties. Is it better than nothing? Maybe. But let's face it, it still sucks.
And what about next year? Glenn may be six, but he's not totally oblivious, I'll bet. Won't he be left wondering why a whole bunch of virtual strangers came to his party instead of kids from his class?