David Bloch, a 21-year-old Florida resident with autism, had been non-verbal for almost his entire life. That changed last month, when he asked his mother, Kerry Bloch, a poignant and devastating question: “Would someone like me?”
“I had to go off and cry where he didn’t see me because it’s just kind of bittersweet that he’s trapped in there,” Bloch. “He does want to be liked, and he does want friends, and he doesn’t know how to make them.”
Appreciating her son’s longing for friendship and connection, Bloch shared his question on her Twitter account, where she often shares updates about David with other mothers of children with autism.
The tweet quickly prompted a massive outpouring of support from people around the world and was re-tweeted and favorite thousands of times.
“Tell David he has a friend from London, and my family,” one user wrote. “Much love.”
The tweet also attracted supportive responses from other parents of children with autism, some of whom wrote that their children could relate to David’s yearning for friendship.
“I am sure my 19yo autistic son would like him,” one user wrote. “He has yet to ask me a question like that, but he longs for friends.”
According to a Buzzfeed report, Kerry Bloch described the responses as “mind-boggling,” and said she was “overwhelmed.”
“To say that David and I are overwhelmed by the response to this simple tweet is putting it mildly,” she tweeted. “Our hearts have never been touched like this. I am reading every reply to David. It’ll take time but know that every one of you have blessed us. Love you all!”
Bloch also tweeted a message David himself had written to express his gratitude for the support:
“Thank you, friends, for liking me."
Though doctors had told Bloch she would never have children, she defied that prediction by giving birth to David at 40. David progressed normally until age 4, when he began showing signs of severe autism. He soon lost virtually all language skills, and currently only speaks in single words when prompted.
“My husband and I, we don’t really know what happened,” Bloch told Buzzfeed, “and honestly we don’t care what happened. It’s water under the bridge and we’re just moving forward and trying to give him the best life possible. That’s all that matters.”
At the same time, Bloch acknowledged that David “wants friends badly. He’s home-schooled, and it’s just the three of us,” she said. “I know he’s lonely and he wants friends.”
The outpouring of support on social media has given Bloch hope that there is someone out there who can provide as much love and support for David as she and her husband do.
“I know we’re not going to be around forever,” she said. “I would love for David to find somebody special to take care of him when we’re gone. I just want him to be loved and to be happy and to be safe."