After watching their son cry two years in a row when nobody showed up to celebrate his birthday, Carolyn and Dan Nicastro decided that this year was going to be different.
Their now-8-year-old boy, Daniel, has autism, and like they feared, not a single friend responded to the party invitations they sent out this year. Instead of letting the past repeat itself, his dedicated parents got creative with their next round of invitations and invited police officers from the North Port Police Department in Florida.
Daniel considers these men and women superheroes so his parents knew that he'd be thrilled if anyone was able to show up. In case nobody was able to attend, the Nicastros didn't say anything to Daniel about the possible guests. When a line of police cars approached the party, both parents and child were equally shocked at the number of officers who arrived to celebrate.
"(We wanted) to make that boy's day, spread good cheer; let him know that he is appreciated, that we did want to attend," North Port Police Sergeant Paul Neugebauer told NBC News. "Children with challenges and such don't need to feel left out more than they already are. So if he views us as superheroes, the least thing we can do is show up at his party and make his day."
Since the police department shared a photo of Daniel surrounded by his real-life heroes as well as a thank you note from his grateful mom on Facebook, a number of people have reached out about their own struggles of finding similar kids who will interact with their own children.
In order to do something special for other children who have endured similar heartache as Daniel, the North Port police department announced a new idea, while also recognizing that their community could use a happy story right about now. "Well, we are going to keep the love flowing. Volunteers with the North Port Police Department are currently organizing a community birthday bash for not just Daniel but any other child in our community who has felt left out," the department wrote. "We want all our kids to know how special they are and see how much our community cares for them."