Social media helps determined dad grant Christmas wish for son with autism

A London man turned to Twitter for help in tracking a discontinued VHS tape of a 'Postman Pat' special for his son with severe autism.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Ethan Sacks

A London father has too much gratitude to fit in 280 characters after he pleaded on Twitter to help locate a discontinued VHS tape for his son with severe autism.

Professional musician James Dutton and his ex-wife, Cindy, asked their 19-year-old son, Thomas, for a Christmas wish list and found all the items he wanted — except for a rare 1981 video cassette of "Postman Pat," a classic stop-motion British children's show.

Though the series aired before Thomas was born, the boy became a fan through YouTube clips.

A London man used Twitter to track down a discontinued 'Postman Pat' VHS tape for his severely autistic son's Christmas present.Youtube / Postman Pat

Dutton, 48, turned to social media for help, posting on both Twitter and Facebook on Sunday in search of the old BBC children's special.

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Within 48 hours, the crowd-sourcing paid off.

It helped when a celebrity from a British reality show chipped in with a retweet.

Jill Hulme saw the post after Brendan Cole, a star on the series, "Strictly Come Dancing," shared Dutton's tweet, London's The Independent newspaper reported.

She happened to have a copy of that very same "Postman Pat" tape that she had planned to donate to charity. "It really is a wonderful story which I'm so grateful to be part of," Hulme told The Independent. "I have three boys who, when I told what had happened, were so pleased to hear that Thomas would be getting such a great surprise on Christmas morning."

James Dutton informed the Twitterverse on Tuesday that the search was a success.

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"I think the biggest thing that we have learned is the power of social media for good things, and the kindness of complete strangers," the Duttons told The Independent.