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6-year-old’s birthday party inspires community outpouring after online post

Posted on Monday, February 16, 2015 at 9:55 am

By Charlie Reed
Staff Writer
When Glenn Buratti saw the emergency vehicles parked in front of his house Wednesday afternoon on his way home from school, the kindergartener was a little worried.
But his concerned look quickly dissipated into a smile after his mom explained they were there to say “happy birthday. “
It was the second time that complete strangers were moved this week to make Glenn’s 6th birthday special.
When none of his classmates showed up for the party his family had planned, his mother, was nearly as broken-hearted as her son.
“From the minute he woke up that day he wanted to know how many minutes until his friends came. None of the kids’ parents RSVP’d, but I was still holding on to the hope that some of them would show up. It never crossed my mind that it would be zero,”his mom, Ashlee Buratti said.
Glenn’s eyes filled with tears when she finally told him that his classmates weren’t coming.
“He’s really sensitive,” Ashlee said, adding that Glenn has epilepsy and a mild formof autism.
When the birthday boy retreated into play with his older sister, Ashlee took a few minutes to process her frustration on Facebook. Her post on Osceola Rants Raves & Reviews List, a locally run page with more than 10,000 members, changed everything.
“I just wanted to vent to other parents who maybe had been through the same thing,” said Buratti, 25, a native of Kansas who graduated from St. Cloud High School in 2008.
She couldn’t figure out why none of Glenn’s classmates could make it to his party.
“I know this might be something silly to rant about, but my heart is breaking for my son. We invited his whole class (16 kids) over for his 6th birthday party today. Not one kid came,”  she posted.
But her “rant” was short-lived. People not only sympathized, but were so touched that within minutes they began sending her messages and asking if they could bring their kids over that afternoon.
It soon turned out that the birthday cake and bounce house would get some use Sunday.
In all, about 15 kids and 25 adults showed up.  He’s usually a little shy but took to the group of new friends like he’d known them his whole life, she said.
At first, her husband was little a apprehensive about inviting perfect strangers into their home.
But the couple quickly realized that everyone who reached out had nothing but good intentions.
“One lady brought him a brand new bike,” Ashlee said. “One guy brought his camera and spent most his time snapping pictures of our family, which he gave to us. It was just amazing. The people who came out were so awesome.”
Ashlee’s message even reached employees of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, who asked for her address and told her to look out for a helicopter flying over their St. Cloud home within the hour.
“Sure enough, half an hour later there they were. They circled the house, flew low and waved,” she said.
Glenn was all smiles.
By Sunday night, Ashlee was singing a different tune on Facebook. Her rant had turned into a “huge, humongous rave.”
“You don’t know how much this meant to us today,” she wrote, garnering more than 400 “likes” and dozens of comments on the social media site.
“Your (earlier) post was just so heart breaking, I am so happy to hear it all turned out well. I know the feeling it happens at most birthday parties for young children,” Samantha Tindall responded.
And the outpouring didn’t end there.
On Wednesday several crews from the Sheriff’s Office and Osceola County Fire Rescue stopped by the Buratti home on Virginia Avenue to wish Glenn well.
“They said his story really touched their hearts and they wanted to do something,” she said.
Though she knew they were coming over, the gesture still moved her to tears.
“They came together just to make him happy for his birthday. I couldn’t believe it. I said to my mom, and maybe on Facebook, that if there was ever a time I could feel God’s work in our lives it was Sunday and Wednesday,” she said.
Once again the strangers showered Glenn with presents and love, with nothing to gain.
“And to think, all this happened because nobody showed up to his birthday,” Ashlee wrote online after they left. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”