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How David Bowie's 'invisible mask' inspired confidence in a boy with autism

When a shy and awkward boy met the Goblin King himself during Christmas in 1987, he received priceless wisdom that helped him greatly.

How David Bowie's 'invisible mask' inspired confidence in a boy with autism
Cover Image Source: David Bowie performing at Giant Stadium at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey on August 3, 1987. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns/GettyImages)

Sometimes, the smallest piece of advice could become life-changing for someone. Especially, when the advice comes from someone we admire, it impacts our lives more. Many celebrities are known to create memorable moments for their fans simply by interacting with them. The iconic British singer and actor, David Bowie, proved he's no exception to the magic. A friend of writer Paul Magrs, who's on the autism spectrum, shared a heartwarming encounter of how Bowie helped him when he was a child to overcome his lack of confidence with the help of an "invisible mask." Magrs's narration of this incident touched many hearts on the internet.

Image Source: Actors David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly in a scene from the movie 'Labyrinth', 1986. (Photo by Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images)
Image Source: Actors David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly in a scene from the movie 'Labyrinth', 1986. (Photo by Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images)

As per Magrs's blog, his friend who was "shy, clever and autistic," had the chance to meet the "Let's Dance" singer nearly four decades ago. In 1987, as a little kid, the writer's friend won a competition and got the opportunity to go to London during Christmas. To entertain the winners, Bowie's 1986 film "Labyrinth" was shown in a school where the little boy was lucky to witness not only the characters from the film but also the Jim Henson puppeteers. Eventually, the Goblin King himself walked into the school hall and the shy boy had the fortune of meeting him. Speaking about the friend's recollection of the encounter of a lifetime, Magrs wrote in his blog that the legendary singer was, "kind to him and as magical as anyone could hope for."

Image Source: David Bowie during David Bowie in Concert - July 31, 2002 at PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic/GettyImages)
Image Source: David Bowie during David Bowie in Concert - July 31, 2002, at PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic/GettyImages)

The "Space Oddity" singer was supposed to give away signed posters to all winners gathered in the school, per Reactor. Feeling overwhelmed in the crowd, the boy was kindly given his own space, where Bowie's magic unfolded. "I got to meet him alone. He’d heard I was shy and it was his idea. He spent thirty minutes with me," the friend told Magrs. During that encounter, Bowie offered him the renowned "invisible mask" and the purpose behind it was incredibly touching. Recounting Bowie's profoundly touching act, the friend told Magrs, "He took it off his own face and looked around like he was scared and uncomfortable all of a sudden. He passed me his invisible mask. 'Put it on,' he told me. 'It’s magic.'" Heeding the singer, the little boy wore that invisible mask as though it was real. Once the boy pretended to wear the mask, Bowie told him, "I always feel afraid, just the same as you. But I wear this mask every single day. And it doesn’t take the fear away, but it makes it feel a bit better. I feel brave enough then to face the whole world and all the people. And now you will, too."

The friend told Magrs that he felt better that moment. After giving the magic mask to the kid, Bowie spun one for himself and put it on. "He looked so relieved and pleased," said Magrs's friend. "Now we’ve both got invisible masks. We can both see through them perfectly well and no one would know we’re even wearing them," the "Life on Mars" singer told the little boy. That instant, Magrs's friend felt "incredibly comfortable" and for the first time in his life, he felt safe too. "It was magic. He was a wizard. He was a goblin king, grinning at me," the friend bore his soul and added that he still kept that mask on. This incident became a short story, "Stardust and Snow" written by Paul Magrs and went on to inspire many. The simple yet thoughtful gesture by Bowie turned out to be one of the life-altering moments for the shy and withdrawn boy who learned to put on the "invisible mask" and muster up some confidence in life.

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