Dylan Johnson received a brand-new Kirby vacuum at his 14th birthday party, in a gesture that moved the room to tears

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
January 20, 2015 12:40 PM


A vacuum-loving teen with autism received the birthday surprise of a lifetime this past weekend, thanks to his mother’s determination and a big-hearted vacuum salesman.

Dylan Johnson was never into “normal” toys, his mother, Jodie Greene, told CBS 6 in Virginia. Instead, his “toy” of choice since he was 2 has always been the family’s vacuum cleaner. Kirby has emerged as his brand of choice.

So, when it came time to devise a 14th birthday celebration for the middle-school student, his mother knew exactly the kind of “clean” fun would make his day extra-special: a vacuum-themed extravaganza.

According to CBS 6, Greene sent the following email to the Cleveland-based Kirby Company, which obligingly made Johnson’s dream come true – and then some.

I am reaching out to you in hopes for an answer to an unusual request for my son who is autistic. He has always been obsessed with vacuum cleaners. His favorite is the Kirby. He spends hours every day watching videos on his tablet about different Kirby’s. When he isn’t watching videos about them, he is talking about them. I really would LOVE to get a demo done for him for his birthday. In fact, I am even getting him a cake made that looks like a Kirby vacuum. I am writing to you in hopes that you can get me in touch with a way to get him this demo. I want to be clear that I do not intend on purchasing a Kirby. I was hoping that I could pay a flat fee or thought that maybe if you have salesmen in training that needs to get in practice demos for training purposes. I do not want anything free, but as the mother of a special needs child, it is so hard to find things to make my son happy. I know that having this demo done would just be so awesome, and it would warm my heart to see him so excited to experience that.

Answering the call, Kirby sent Al Archie, a 25-year company salesman, to Dylan’s party this past weekend, reports the news station. Getting down on the floor with the birthday boy, Archie carefully delivered a vacuum demonstration as Dylan looked on in wonder.

“He knew more about the Kirby than I did,” Archie told CBS 6 with obvious awe. “I have never experienced anything like that.”

What happened next moved the entire room to tears.

“At the end of the demonstration, [he] gave my son a brand new Kirby vacuum,” Jodie Greene told the news station. “There was not a dry eye in the house.”

Archie, meanwhile, shrugged off the gesture as no big deal. “I planned I wanted to do something for him,” he said. “[It was] an opportunity to give something back.”

The vacuum company was also thrilled to be a part of Dylan’s celebration.

“The Kirby Company was honored to be part of this story,” a company spokeswoman tells PEOPLE. “We are grateful to Jodie Greene for reaching out to us so we could arrange for the demonstration on Dylan s birthday, and we thank our distributor, Al Archie, for his generosity and selflessness.”

Meanwhile, Dylan beamed as he stood behind his beloved birthday gift – and his mother couldn’t help but be grateful for the fringe benefits.

“I’m going to have the cleanest carpets in Chesterfield County,” she said with delight.