Lisa Schramel had big plans for her son Mathias‘ sixth birthday. She was going to rent out a local theater near her home in New Mexico for his big day, letting Mathias spend time with kids in his class watching Thor: Ragnarok. A perfect idea!
But her amazing idea quickly went down the drain after not one single parent RSVP’d to Mathias’ party. In need of at least 10 kids to attend, Lisa sadly had to scrap the plans only a day before her son’s birthday party. As she planned for a last-minute party at home, she was hurt because she knew the likely reason behind people not going: Mathias’ autism.
Heartbroken for her little boy, Lisa took to Facebook to vent her feelings, expressing that no one should shun her son or anyone else with autism. “I just don’t get how these kids get seen differently,” she said to PEOPLE. “They are the same functional human beings on the inside as everybody else. That really made me peeved off!”
The post quickly got the attention of dozens of people, who commented that they would love to help put together another party for the young boy! “I cried. I just cried. It was beautiful and extremely overwhelming,” Lisa stated. “At that point, I had 15 hours to prepare a birthday party!”
Since Mathias loves animals, Lisa reached out to the Alameda Park Zoo to have the party there. Workers there gladly accommodated her request! Lisa then bought a lot of decorations, and worked with nice strangers who wanted to bring gifts and food. One woman even made Mathias a large, colorful birthday cake!
After all of this last-minute planning and work, over 200 people showed up to Mathias’ party, with so many presents that Mathias wanted people to donate instead to animals in need. Lisa herself was so moved by everyone coming together for her son. “The fact that a community would stop what they’re doing to go to a little boy’s birthday that they don’t know…it was really beautiful,” she said. “It was the first moment I got to see my son be treated like other children. That’s all I ever wanted for him, just a have moments where nobody looked at him as broken or different, or in some way that made his existence seem wrong.”
Lisa hopes that her story will raise awareness about autism, and that other people will learn to be more accepting of kids with autism. Mathias has high-functioning autism, which includes ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Different things can trigger him and cause him to shut down, like being touched or hearing loud sounds. However, he’s still a kid who likes to play and have a good time just like everyone else.
It’s sad that none of the parents with kids in his class RSVP’d for the party, but this story definitely shows how kind people can really be. That’s why I love sharing sweet stories like this to show that, in spite of all of the other messed up stories out there, there’s still a lot of amazing people out there willing to help and show love to others!