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Video of Biden hugging son of Parkland victim goes viral — here's the family's story

The widow of a victim of the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, says Joe Biden consoling her son "meant a lot."
/ Source: TODAY

When Joe Biden visited with the victims' families from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School two years ago, a man with special needs who lost his father simply wanted a hug during a devastating time.

A video of Corey Hixon bounding up to Biden and wrapping him in a tight embrace while the former vice president gives him a kiss on the forehead and consoles him went viral on Wednesday after it was tweeted by former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary in support of Biden's presidential candidacy.

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"I'm one of those who frets that the election will be much closer than the polls indicate," Chaudhury wrote. "That in a world where non-voters are never targeted by Dems, huge turnout could contain multitudes. So I'm dropping some old footage of Joe Biden here."

The clip, which has been viewed more than 8 million times on Twitter, shows the Democratic presidential nominee shaking hands during a meeting in March of 2018 with Debbi Hixon, the widow of Chris Hixon, the heroic athletic director at the high school in Parkland, Florida, who was killed by the gunman as he tried to save students.

The 49-year-old military veteran was one of 17 people who were killed in the shooting between staff members and students.

As Biden is walking away, Corey Hixon runs up to him for a hug and announces, "I'm his son." Biden asks him if he is okay, and Hixon shakes his head.

"You'll be okay," Biden says. "We're going to be okay. We're going to be okay, I promise."

Corey is the younger of the couple's two sons and was born without the left side of his heart and with bleeding on his brain, according to The Associated Press.

He has the rare genetic disorder Kabuki Syndrome, which includes distinctive facial features, growth delays, varying degrees of intellectual disability, skeletal abnormalities, and short stature, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of gun violence herself who hosted the event in 2018, tweeted out a political ad featuring the clip of Biden hugging Hixon along with Debbi Hixon tearfully speaking about what that moment meant to her.

"I don't have it in me a lot of times to give (Corey) that comfort," Hixon says in the video. "So it meant a lot for someone else to give him—to take that time and to care enough about him. My older son calls him Uncle Joe. He can be that person that can comfort our nation and bring us together."

Hixon, who worked as a marine science teacher at South Broward High School at the time of the shooting, has entered the political world herself this year as she is running for a seat on the Broward County School Board in November.

Earlier this month, Hixon shared a photo of Corey voting for the first time, telling people "Your vote is your voice!"