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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.
by Ethan Sacks / / Source: TODAY

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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.

Postman Pat
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.

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.

"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.

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