SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (News 12 New Jersey/CNN VAN) - When 5-year-old Carter Braconi went to a New Jersey skate park for some birthday fun, he walked away with new friends and a story that's inspiring his entire community.
A group of teenagers in New Jersey befriended a boy with autism and taught him how to skateboard / (Source: News 12 New Jersey / CNN VAN)
He went to the skate park with his scooter on Tuesday afternoon, but thought his fun would be cut short when he saw a group of teenagers, his mother told News 12 New Jersey.
"He thought he was going to have to leave because he's little and he thinks that bigger kids don't always want to play with little kids," said Kristen Braconi, Carter's mom.
Instead, the teens surprised the Braconis by singing some happy birthday wishes and welcoming him to their group.
Carter has high-functioning autism and ADHD, but that didn't stop him from hanging out with the teens. They helped him go down big ramps on his scooter and even gave him a skateboard.
"They had no idea the woman at the park was his behavioral therapist, had no idea who I was or who he was. Didn't know anything, was going on with him and they were just so, so kind to him," said Kristen Braconi.
Recently, the group reunited and even received a special thank you from police.
"It's just so heartwarming to see these kids taking care of other members of the community. That's what it's all about," said Lt. Gene Rickle with South Brunswick Police Dept.
One of those teens, Gavin Mabes, said it was just another way to pay it forward.
"Some of the guys here I've seen here before. And they've just help me out and were nice to me. So I decided to do that with him and just you never know," he said.
The kind gesture meant so much to Carter and his family.
"Actions speak louder than words and taking him under their wing and giving him a little mini skateboard - my heart exploded. It literally exploded," said Kristen Braconi.
The teens and Carter will get to celebrate their friendship at school with a pizza party.
Copyright 2019 News 12 New Jersey via CNN VAN. All rights reserved.