Melissa Camus was crushed when "not one kid" replied to an invitation to celebrate her son Odin's 13th birthday, but when word spread on social media, international celebrities and other total strangers helped make it his biggest and best bash yet.
Odin, who, according to his mom has Asperger syndrome, expected to bowl the night away with friends Friday night at an alley in the Canadian city of Peterborough, about 70 miles northeast of Toronto. But when no one responded to his mom's invitation, an exasperated Camus took to Facebook.
"Some of you have seen me post about my son, Odin," Camus wrote in a Facebook post, according to a screen shot posted by Peterborough news and entertainment company PTBO. "His struggles with bullying, his difficulties with Aspergers. Well, today is his 13th birthday. And, unfortunately, not one kid rsvp'd to his birthday 'hang out' invite. :-( I'm really struggling with finding a way to make today awesome for him, when it will just be us celebrating."
Camus did what she could on her own to make the occasion special, planning a "balloon avalanche" for the morning of his birthday, as well as house decorations, dinner at his favorite restaurant, presents and cheesecake. But perhaps she didn't realize the scope of the celebration was about to change dramatically when she asked Facebook users to to wish Odin a happy birthday on "his schmancy new cell phone."
That's when PTBO posted an article about Odin's situation, and encouraged readers to show up at nearby Lakeview Bowl — the destination for Odin's birthday party —to wish the boy a happy birthday on his first day as a teenager.
"So let's give Odin a terrific birthday," reads the original PTBO post. "Text him birthday wishes, and drop by Lakeview Bowl if you can."
But even before Odin showed up at the venue, he received thousands of social-media birthday wishes — including some from Hollywood stars, prominent politicians and professional athletes who might not otherwise wish strangers a happy birthday on a daily basis.
Players, mascots and staff of many of Ontario's sports teams were among the first to get in on the act, using the hashtag #OdinBirthday.
Pop star Carrie Underwood joined actors Elijah Wood and Molly Ringwald in celebrating the occasion, too.
Even conservative and liberal figures had no problem reaching across the aisle to show their support for Odin. Laureen Harper tweeted that she and her husband, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, wished the teen a "wonderful 13th birthday," while liberal Justin Trudeau wished him a "great day."
Over at the bowling alley — where Odin arrived in a white limousine — well, let's just say a lot more than zero people showed up to the party, bestowing cards, gifts and cheers upon the man of the hour.
While his mother appeared to be moved by the kindness of strangers, Odin raved to The Petersborough Examiner about everyone's kind gestures.
"It’s amazing how people care. I feel absolutely amazing," he told the newspaper. "Now the bullies will have a second glance at me."
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This article was originally published Mar. 23, 2015 at 4:52 p.m. ET.