A month after his parents began collecting them in secret, nine-year-old Damien Smith was finally able to see all the birthday cards and gifts sent to him from around the world — including a video greeting from none other than Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds.
Moving to the Shuswap from Coquitlam in early October, the Salmon Arm youngster had issues making friends in his new town and feared he would have a lonely birthday. His parents, Tiffanie Trudell and Thomas Smith, came up with a solution — they shared Damien’s predicament on Facebook and asked anyone and everyone to send him birthday cards.
The couple received more than 1,200 birthday wishes and gifts from as far as India, New Zealand and Norway but hid them all in the closet in order to give Damien a surprise on Saturday.
Thomas Smith took his blindfolded son to the living room filled with birthday treasure and his friends singing the birthday song.
“Here [are] cards all the way around the world telling you how important you are,” Trudell said when the boy opened his eyes.
Accompanied by his father, Damien watched the video greeting that Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds had delivered in late October.
“I relate to your story a lot because I also went to a new school,” says Reynolds in the video. “I remember how alone I felt and unseen I felt.”
Watch Ryan Reynolds tell Damien Smith what the two of them have in common:
“When you feel suffering and when you feel bad about something, you say it’s because you feel like you’re the only one. You’re not alone,” says the actor before wishing the boy a Happy Birthday.
Seemingly astounded by the superstar’s wishes, the child went to hug his mother who teared up with joy.
The lucky birthday boy also received a free handmade birthday cake — with a Deadpool figurine on it — from a Salmon Arm bakery.
“It’s so amazing, I was so shocked,” said Trudell.
Watch | Damien Smith’s jaw drop and stay there as he listens to Reynolds talking directly to him:
In his mid-October Facebook posting, Thomas Smith wrote that Damien has self-confidence issues and doesn’t always feel accepted.
Trudell says Reynolds’ video and other birthday wishes have given Damien a “newfound confidence.”
“The world right now is going through something crazy, and it’s nice that my son gets to see a bright light and shares it with everybody around the world,” she said.