For many teens, prom is a rite of passage -- one of the most important and memorable high school experiences. But, for Esteban Barriga it was just one more reminder that he had no friends and no one to take to the dance.
The 17-year-old senior from Maynard, Mass., has autism and often felt alone and friendless at school, according to The Boston Globe. He had already resolved not to attend his school’s spring dance, but changed his mind when he set his sights on a famous date.
After deciding to ask comedian Ellen DeGeneres to prom, Barriga and his classmates -- the friends he didn’t know he had -- decided to help out. They wrote the reasons DeGeneres should respond to Barriga on a classroom whiteboard. Some of the heartfelt reasons included “He’s a nice guy!”, “He has a million dollar smile!” and “He’s a good role model.”
His family also helped him make a YouTube video to convince the TV host to accompany him on May 9 to the prom.
“As he prepares to transition to adulthood, he teaches us a very important lesson,” The description on YouTube reads. “That having a disability does not stop you from dreaming.”
The teen’s supporters have since been writing on Ellen’s Facebook page and started using the hashtag #EllenTakeMeToProm and #SayYesToEsteban on Twitter.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience because here’s this kid who thought he had no friends at high school, who thought he was on his own,” Maribel Rueda, Barriga’s mother, told The Globe. “Now, he’s suddenly the most popular kid in school.”
Ellen has yet to respond to the request, so let’s spread the word!