Get ready to fall in love with the sincerity of this 11-year-old Texan boy who went to a neighbor’s house asking if they knew any kids in the area because he really needed some new friends.
The heartbreaking-then-heartwarming interaction between Shayden Walker and his neighbor Brennan Ray was caught via a doorbell security camera, and trigged a viral storm of offers for friendship on social media.
“Um, I just wanted to see if you knew any kids around like 11 or 12, maybe,” the boy can be heard saying in the video. “I need some friends, like really bad.”
Ray suggests some kids in their area of Amarillo Texas, but Shayden replies that he doesn’t see them anymore “because they’re bullies.”
Ray then says that if Shayden wanted to he could play with his daughter, but she was only 2 years old, to which the young man replies “Oh great! I love 2-year-olds, to be honest, they’re like the most cutest things I’ve ever known.”
Ray was struck by Shayden’s honesty and demeanor and took to TikTok to try and solve his conundrum.
“You never know what people are going through until you get a chance to talk to them. This young man is well-mannered, kind, and brave. So TikTok can we help Shayden make some friends?” Ray captioned the video which garnered an absolutely staggering 69 million views.
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“I figured I could post it and some local people would see it and help me connect to them,” he told USA Today.
Shayden has been diagnosed with several mental disorders, and his mom said he’s always had trouble maintaining friends, but after the TikTok video he now has friends in China, the UK, Hawaii, and Australia.
At first, admits mom Kimberly, she thought the video would lead to more ridicule.
“When that didn’t happen, the relief that washed over me and the pure joy that people actually were showing compassion, that was huge,” she said.
Shayden also spoke with USA Today, and said he felt drawn to visit the Rays because their dog ran into his yard one day, and when the Rays come over to get him they seemed like nice people.
Ray and his wife thought they could use all the publicity to help Shayden, so they started a GoFundMe which raised $37,000 for whatever he wants—a clause stipulated in the fundraiser. The families are extremely close after the ordeal, and Shayden does in fact play with their daughter despite all his new friends.