Strangers wish happy birthday to teen when no one RSVPs to birthday invite
Published Friday, March 20, 2015 2:29PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 21, 2015 11:39PM EDT
Birthday wishes from around the world are pouring in for an Ontario teenager after his birthday party invitations initially went unanswered.
Odin Camus, 13, has Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction and communication. As a result, the Peterborough, Ont., boy struggles to make friends and is bullied, his mother Melissa wrote on Facebook.
Odin sent out birthday invitations for a party to be held Friday, but not one kid responded to the invite, his mother said.
She took to Facebook to ask others in her community to send Odin a text message on his birthday.
"I want his thirteenth birthday to feel special, and like people care about him," Melissa Camus wrote.
"I'm really struggling with finding a way to make today awesome for him, when it will just be us celebrating."
The message was posted on the "Peterborough Moms Swap and Buy" Facebook page. The women who use the page suggested Melissa host a public event for Odin, and post the details to a separate Facebook page.
Melissa planned a bowling night in Peterborough, opening the event to anyone who wished to stop by and wish her son a happy birthday. Hundreds of people, most of them strangers, showed up at the Lakeview Bowl on Friday night with gifts, balloons and hugs for Odin.
“I think it’s amazing how so many people actually care because not a lot of people where I used to live cared about my birthday,” Odin told CTV Toronto before the party.
He estimated that he had received around 4,000 text messages Friday, some of them from people living as far away as Japan, India and Russia.
Odin said he looked forward to his party and is thankful to everyone who made it happen.
“Thank you to the people who recognize me…it’s above and beyond what I could have dreamed.”
Dozens of strangers who couldn’t make it to the event posted messages on the Facebook page, wishing the boy a happy birthday.
One group of kids made a colourful sign, and filmed a four-second video saying happy birthday.
Canadian country singer Beverley Mahood also commented on the page, complimenting the teen on his moose-patterned sweater, "Have a great time bowling and have the best birthday. PS you look cute in your moose picture."
Others asked what toys and games Odin liked, planning to bring a gift to the bowling party. His mother wrote that he loves his Xbox 360, anything army or navy related, Minecraft, Nerf guns and paintballing.
"He's been non-stop smiling and getting all overwhelmed. It's so amazing," Melissa told CTV Toronto.
Many have also tweeted their birthday messages for Odin with the hashtag #odinbirthday.
Among the well-wishers: TV personalities, celebrities, firefighters, police officers, Toronto sports teams and even federal politicians.
Wishing Odin a very happy 13th birthday today! Hope you have a great day. Bonne fête! #OdinBirthday— Justin Trudeau, MP (@JustinTrudeau) March 20, 2015