Eleven-year-old Austin Mendrala isn’t used to having a lot of friends show up to his parties, but this year he got a very special birthday surprise.
“It was the best day ever,” Austin said in a video on his mom’s phone.
Austin has autism and Tourette syndrome. His mother says his diagnoses make it difficult for him to make friends.
“He’s lonely. He spends all summer long with no one to play with,” mom Delilah Mendrala told WBIN.
Austin’s birthday was coming up, and Mendrala wanted to make sure it was special for him.
She created a post on Facebook asking parents to bring their kids to the Mastricola Elementary School playground, so Austin could make some friends.
At first, no one showed up. Austin was heartbroken.
“At some point a car came and it just sat there for a few minutes and then they drove off. Instantly Austin starts to cry because he thought no one was going to show up,” said Mandrala.
But suddenly people started showing up, including police officers and firefighters, who brought fire trucks, police cruisers and ambulances to show the kids.
“He was jumping up and down, he was so excited,” said Mendrala.