"They were so beyond kind it brought me to tears," mom Kristen Braconi said of the teenagers
A 5-year-old boy who has a series of developmental disorders was in for the perfect birthday surprise when a group of teenagers helped him learn how to skateboard on his big day.
Kristen Braconi took her son, Carter, to a skatepark in South Brunswick, New Jersey, late last month to celebrate his fifth birthday. After Carter spent some time riding through the park on his scooter, a group of teenagers showed up on their skateboards — and instead of overlooking the boy barely half their age, they took it upon themselves to show him how to skate.
“We went to the park behind the police station and he was in the skate park on his scooter and some older kids showed up,” Braconi wrote in a Facebook post on March 26. “They were absolutely amazing with him and included him and were so beyond kind it brought me to tears.”
The moment was highlighted for the mother because Carter has both autism and ADHD, she explained, which are both developmental disorders that can affect how a child interacts and communicates with others. People who are diagnosed with high functioning autism, the kind Carter has, typically have trouble in social interactions and difficulty picking up on nonverbal conversation cues. ADHD symptoms often include hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Despite all of this, Carter was having the time of his life with a group of friendly strangers.
Braconi uploaded a video of the heartwarming moment to a community social media page, which shows the teenagers demonstrating how to stand on a skateboard and kick off. Even though Carter falls and tumbles multiple times, he gets up and tries again thanks to the encouragement he received.
Making it even sweeter, when the group found out it was Carter’s special day, they all sang him “Happy Birthday.”
“That day made me feel overjoyed to see kind, compassionate, respectful teenagers doing the right thing on their own,” Braconi tells PEOPLE. “I wanted their parents to see how well they had raised them and that they were doing a great job because it’s important to build each other up! Parenting is hard no matter what is going on with your child and it feels good to receive recognition when you are doing the right thing.”
Though she bought the teenagers ice cream after they spent time with Carter, Braconi feels even that wasn’t enough to thank them for their kindness.
She says Carter has tried skateboarding since he was little, and will probably need a skateboard better suited to his size if he’s going to continue. But thanks to a group of teens who took the time to teach him, he now has the basics down.
“I know in my heart this kindness exists everywhere and goes on every day we just don’t highlight it enough,” Braconi says. “The light is drowned out by the dark and if we gave less recognition to all the tragedy and negative this world could be a different place.”