Vincent Arambula, a 10-year-old with autism, was nonverbal for years until his parents got him an Iron Man helmet when he was six years old. After less than a day of wearing the helmet, Vincent became “a different child.”
Last week, Vincent got a special surprise when he met his hero Robert Downey Jr., who plays Iron Man in the Marvel movies, on The Ellen Show.
During the meeting, Vincent’s father told the movie star that “the mask grounded him and allowed him to feel confident.”
Vincent explained how his life changed after wearing the helmet, saying, “I got an Iron Man helmet and it helped me talk and imagination play. [The mask] helped me talk and it helped me hide my identity from the world.”
Downey, Jr. was touched by the encounter and spoke about how meeting his fans has been one of the best parts of playing the superhero.
“It honestly is being able to talk to moms and dads and young folks and see how this had a positive impact on you,” he said. “And it just makes all these last years of working on it worthwhile. I cannot thank you enough.”
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The clip ends with Robert Downey, Jr. announcing that Shutterfly was giving the family $20,000 to use for therapy and medical expenses. A giant check was handed to them during the segment.
Dreams do come true! And, yes, every once in awhile, it’s a good idea to meet your heroes after all…
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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