(ABC NEWS)- A mom publicly thanked her son’s classmates for showing him the kindness for which she secretly always hoped.
Kay Kirby of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, shared a photo of her 16-year-old son Andrew Kirby on Aug. 20 and gave a shout out to the student council at his high school for asking him to join their lunch table.
“He normally eats alone and it breaks my heart,” Kirby wrote on Facebook. “But as soon as he got in the car after school he said “Mom, I didn’t eat alone! Some student council members asked me and 3 others eating alone to come sit with them, and said we could eat with them again tomorrow too!”
Kirby, a mom of four, told “Good Morning America” that she and her husband Tyler Kirby adopted Andrew when they were fostering him as a baby.
Andrew was born with a drug addiction and has neurofibromatosis, which is a genetic condition that causes tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord and nerves, according to the Mayo Clinic. He has had major back and neck surgeries.
Describing Andrew as a shy kid, Kirby said that he has often sat by himself at lunch since middle school.
“He’s more of a loner,” she explained. “He’s a good kid, but he’s just different. It doesnt make him odd or bad. He’s very loyal and everybody that meets him, loves him.”
In previous school years, Kirby would text Andrew to ask if he was having lunch with anyone at school.
“When he’d say, ‘No,’ I would have to turn my head a lot of time [and try] not to cry,” Kirby said. “He would say, ‘Mom, it’s ok. I get on my phone, so I don’t notice.'”
But when Andrew got into his mom’s car after the first day of his junior year, he shared the news that he had made new friends. The student council had noticed Andrew and a few other classmates were eating lunch alone, so they invited them to all sit together, he told his mother.
Kirby shared the story on Facebook where it garnered more than 14,000 likes. She also met the kids that befriended Andrew and expressed her gratitude in person.