What started out as a video message from 8-year-old Jordan Pagel, who has a stutter and is on the autism spectrum, giving a shoutout to his favorite author ended up resulting in the most incredible surprise.
On March 25, Jordan's mother, Bethany Pagel, shared a one minute and 22 second video of her son talking about one of his favorite books, "A New Day," by Brad Meltzer. In the video, Jordan explains that he was named "superhero of the week" at school. The hardworking kid who earns that honor gets to bring a favorite book to share with the class.
"Hey Brad Meltzer. I am reading your book called 'A New Day,' and I really like this book because inside the book it's like really funny and I really like how everybody makes really funny faces," Jordan says in the video while holding a copy of the book, which tells the story of when Sunday quits as a day of the week and auditions are held for a new day of the week.
Pagel's mother shared the video and in a separate tweet, alerted Meltzer in the hope that the author, who writes books for children and adults, might see the video.
"Jordan has a special message for you! *Please be patient, he has a stutter*," she wrote.
The video went viral and Meltzer sent Jordan a special video message on social media letting him know he's "his hero" for the week. The author even wore a NASA shirt to match the one Jordan wore in his first video message, a move the 8-year-old excitedly noticed.
But the surprises didn't stop there.
Bethany and Jordan Pagel were interviewed by NBC News' Jose Diaz-Balart for Nightly News, where the avid reader had an opportunity to say hello over video chat to his favorite author.
"Hi Brad Meltzer!" Jordan said.
"Hi Jordan amazing man!" Meltzer replied.
Meltzer then let Jordan know he had another surprise to show him. The author, who works with illustrator Christopher Eliopolous on his children's books that feature historical figures, had him create a sketch of Jordan in the same style as his favorite books.
Jordan's mouth hung open when he saw the adorable sketch and then told the author, "Thank you so much!"
Meltzer said he was inspired when he saw Jordan's video and he's so glad it also resonated with so many other people.
He said, "People are amazing. We are fearful and brave and cowards and incredible and you see someone like Jordan and kindness will always win."