Central FL Deputies, firefighters throw party for boy with autism

SAINT CLOUD, Fla. (WSVN) — A 6-year-old with autism was surprised with a birthday party from sheriff’s deputies and firefighters after 16 children skipped out on a previous party his mother planned.

Ashlee Buratti vented on Facebook after more than a dozen children did not show up to celebrate the birthday of her son, Glenn, who has autism. “Probably one of the biggest hurts you can have to see how let down your child is when nobody shows up for them,” she said.

But just recently, in a video Glenn thanked the people who did show up for him a week later. “Thank you firefighters and cops, I had so much fun,” 6-year-old Glenn said.

The deputies and firefighters responded to Facebook post in which Ashlee vented about the hurt her son experienced. But the group of firefighters and deputies worked to turn everything around with gifts and even a helicopter flyover.

After a day at school, Glenn came home to fire trucks and a police motorcycle. Many of the birthday gifts Glenn received from the group were purchased out-of-pocket. Ashlee said both she and her son were overjoyed by the large show of support. “His face just lit up. His eyes got real big. He smiled the whole time,” Ashlee said. “They treated us like family. That’s all we could have asked for from anybody was just to be there for us.”

Neighbors and strangers dropped off birthday gifts and hundreds of people sent greetings on Facebook. Other moms with autistic children sent thank you messages online. Glenn’s father, John Buratti, said he was touched by the compassion of others. “I’m very surprised. It was one Facebook post and it took off and people helping us and it was amazing,” he said.

Glenn’s mom said she hopes no other children will have to experience the rejection her son did just because they might be different. “Treat him like anybody else. Just love them. They’ve got a heart just like normal kids,” she said.