High school can be a challenging experience for everyone. It is a time of teenage hormones, new social structures, difficult classes, and, for many, an introduction to the world of dating. Now imagine navigating all of that while also having a heavily stigmatized developmental disorder.
People with Down syndrome can often lead normal lives. They go to school and work just like everyone else. Unfortunately, many people have outdated ideas of what it means to have Down syndrome, viewing people with Down syndrome as being different.
Daniel was a typical 17-year-old boy going to high school and getting excited about the upcoming school dance. The problem? He did not have a date. This was not from lack of trying – he had asked out several of his classmates. Sadly, he was rejected by every girl he asked. The fact that he had Down syndrome was making finding a date incredibly difficult. With those rejections weighing on him and the dance growing ever closer, Daniel began to give up on the idea of having a date to take to the school dance. That all changed thanks to a girl named Kylie.
Kylie did not care that Daniel had Down syndrome, so the 10th-grade girl asked him if they could go to the school dance together. Any fears that Daniel’s mom, Tonya, had about Kylie only asking him to the dance out of pity disappeared at the girl’s exuberance towards going to the dance with Daniel. It was clear that Kylie did not view Daniel as having a disability. She was simply excited to have fun and celebrate the special night with him.
The story of Daniel and Kylie soon reached the ears of FOX5 news via social media, and they decided to send out their Surprise Squad on the night of the dance to make sure the young couple had the best night they possibly could. The thrilling series of surprises included being driven to the dance in a Rolls Royce, eating a special meal at a fancy restaurant Daniel had never been to, and a red carpet to walk down when they arrived at the school. Their classmates were there to cheer them on, and during the dance, the two teenagers were told that they were also being sent to Disneyland.
Young Daniel was left crying tears of happiness, as was his very supportive mom. It was certainly a night to remember for everyone involved.