Donna Herter's heartbreaking post was met with empathy, with some people even asking for his gamer tag to play video games with him.
People with disabilities deserve the same love and affection as everybody else. But genuine friendships are hard to come by and require much-needed attention and care. As a mother, if you had a child who always feels alone or left out, you would do anything to make them feel welcome and loved, right? A desperate Missouri mom, Donna Herter, did the same for her 24-year-old son, who has Down Syndrome. She shared a social media post offering $80 every two hours to a "young man" who can spend two hours twice a month with her son, Christian Bowers. The heartbreaking post was met with empathy from millions of people, with some even asking for his gamer tag to play video games with him, reports PEOPLE.
His mom took to Facebook and wrote: "I'm looking for a young man, between the ages of 20 and 28, who would like to make some extra money. Two days a month, for two hours, I'll pay you to be my son's friend. All you have to do is sit with him and play video games in his room. Nothing else." She added, "He's 24 and has Down Syndrome and doesn't have any friends his age," she continued. "You will not be alone with him; [I] or his grandpa will be home. Obviously, he won't know you are getting paid, but that you are there for him those 2 days. The pay is $80 for 2 hours." The post went viral and amassed over 60K likes with over 59K reshares.
Speaking to CBS affiliate KMOV, she said she received a "largely positive response online", with many wanting to be friends with Bowers without any payment. People from as far away as London and Australia chimed in to befriend him. However, there was a big surprise waiting for Bowers. Members of the St. Louis Nonprofit, STL Youth Sports Outreach, paid a visit to Bowers after the founder, Billy Mayhall, told KMOV he was moved by Herter's post. The founder called his friend, Journalist Derk Brown, who has a large social fan base. With the help of other donors and Clement Hyundai, the pair gifted Bowers a 65-inch flat-screen TV, a new TV stand, a wireless sound bar, St. Louis Blues tickets, and munchies for gaming sessions.
Bowers was thrilled with the gifts, saying, "It's big! It's like heaven." His mom never expected such a spontaneous reaction and was overwhelmed by the kindness of these strangers. Billy Mayhall emphasized the importance of friendships among people with disabilities. He hopes that this serves as an example and helps them take notice of other people's needs. "People now are starting to see that a lot of these kids with special needs need somebody in their life," he explained. "Just like we do, no different." Herter noted that her calendar is filled for the next several months with new friends from across St. Louis who expect nothing in return.
"He’s way more disappointed usually than happy, so this is great," she said. Her post had a thousand shares overnight, with people from all nooks and crannies messaging her. "I still have people messaging, and I’m adding more dates, and I just can’t stop smiling, and it’s not even for me; it’s for him," she said. "He has not been this happy in years; this is the happiest I’ve seen him in years."