‘Superhero’ teens befriend 5-year-old with autism, teach him to skateboard for birthday

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (News 12/CNN) - A group of teenagers in New Jersey went above and beyond to help a 5-year-old boy with autism have a happy birthday at the skate park.

For his fifth birthday, Carter Braconi, who has autism and ADHD, went to the South Brunswick Skate Park in New Jersey to ride his scooter. (Source: News 12 New Jersey/CNN)
For his fifth birthday, Carter Braconi, who has autism and ADHD, went to the South Brunswick Skate Park in New Jersey to ride his scooter. (Source: News 12 New Jersey/CNN) (Source: News 12 New Jersey/CNN)

For his fifth birthday, Carter Braconi, who has autism and ADHD, went to the South Brunswick Skate Park Tuesday afternoon to ride his scooter.

The boy’s mother, Kristen Braconi, says what happened next is unforgettable.

A group of teens showed up at the park, and Carter, who is typically uncomfortable in large crowds, initially thought he would have to leave.

"He thought he was going to have to leave because he’s little, and he thinks that bigger kids don’t always want to play with little kids,” Braconi said.

But instead, the teenagers gave Carter the gift of friendship, welcoming the 5-year-old and helping him go down the big ramps on his scooter. They also sang “Happy Birthday” to the boy and gifted him a small skateboard.

The teenagers gave 5-year-old Carter Braconi the gift of friendship, welcoming the boy and helping him go down the big ramps on his scooter. (Source: News 12 New Jersey/CNN)
The teenagers gave 5-year-old Carter Braconi the gift of friendship, welcoming the boy and helping him go down the big ramps on his scooter. (Source: News 12 New Jersey/CNN) (Source: News 12 New Jersey/CNN)

"Actions speak louder than words, and taking him under their wing and giving him a little mini skateboard, my heart exploded. It literally exploded,” Braconi said.

One teen in particular, identified as 13-year-old Gavin Mabes, went above and beyond by teaching Carter how to skateboard.

"Some of the guys here I’ve seen here before, and they’ve helped me out and were nice to me. So, I decided to do that with him, and just - you never know,” Mabes said.

South Brunswick Police reunited the group and gave each teen a “challenge coin” in recognition of their kindness. They will also be treated to a pizza party with Carter at school.

"It’s just so heartwarming to see these kids taking care of other members of their community. That’s what it’s all about,” Lt. Gene Rickle said.

Copyright 2019 News 12 New Jersey, Kristen Braconi via CNN. All rights reserved.