Boy With Autism Thinks Nobody Will Come To Birthday Party, Then Entire Football Team Shows Up

by Kelly Glass
Kelly Glass is a writer whose work focuses on the intersections of parenting, health, and pop culture. She lives in an Illinois college town with her educator husband, wildly ambitious sons, dog, and several fish. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Romper,, HelloGiggles,, What to Expect, and more.

Christian Larsen passed out invitations to his class for his ninth birthday party, but he didn’t know if anyone would come.

“I was like, ‘please come to my party,'” he said. Christian, who has autism, knows he’s different and worries that’s why his classmates didn’t come. “Because of that face-to-face interaction, I think they were a little disgusted and weirded out,” he said.

Only one child responded to his birthday party invitation, but Christian was in for a surprise. The entire local high school football team showed up anyway. “I pretended to faint,” he said of the moment the football team strolled into his backyard chanting his name.

Christian’s mother, Lindsay, was a nervous wreck. “I wasn’t sure how Christian would react,” she said noting that his autism often means he gets easily overwhelmed. She also wasn’t sure if the high schoolers would truly want to be there.

Dan Holtry, who coaches the Nampa High football team, reassured her. He “sounded so sincere,” Lindsay recounted. “And he said that his players really wanted to come.”

A friend saw Lindsay’s social media post and, unbeknownst to Lindsay, reached out to Dan. Dan called Christian’s mother and said he’d love to bring over his players. In the end, all the boys had a good time, and the party was a success. The players stayed for the entire party and even brought Christian two footballs, one autographed by the entire team. The teens invited Christian to come see them at a practice, and the boy hopes to put his new football to good use.

“I can’t wait to play with them again,” he said.

Watch the video to see Christian’s very happy ninth birthday party surprise.

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