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People Are Really Emotional Over This Bond Between A Football Fan And A Young Man With Social Anxiety

"I didn't think I was doing anything special but after seeing his mother's message and the impact it made, I was so humbled," Danny Martin told BuzzFeed News.

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On Thursday night, Sonia Peacock took her son Kyle to an Everton Football Club game. It was a bit of a big deal, she said, because a few seasons earlier Kyle had been attacked by rival fans, which put him off going to matches. Peacock said it had been a "huge blow" for Kyle, who is on the autism spectrum, because it was the one social activity he really enjoyed.

When they got to Goodison Park, a fellow Everton fan called Danny Martin helped Kyle feel at ease during the match. It prompted Peacock to write a post on Facebook thanking him for his kindness, which has now gone viral.

Peacock said: "This man went out of his way, without even knowing all this about Kyle, to make him feel like 'one of the lads' and, as a mother, I cannot begin to tell you how much that means to me, as he never had to do so."

Martin told BuzzFeed News he was overwhelmed and humbled by the lovely comments he has received since.

Danny Martin, right, with his nephew Andy.
Danny Martin

Danny Martin, right, with his nephew Andy.

Martin, who is a 35-year-old teacher from Merseyside, said: "I woke up and it was mad. I saw that I had a lot of Facebook messages, I thought it might have been for my birthday because it was yesterday. It's a little unbelievable and incredible.

"I went to the match with my nephew Andy and we were in the section for disabled fans, it was quite spacious. Everyone was chatting. I was chatting and singing the chants with Kyle. We had a laugh and spoke about our favourite Everton players."

He added: "I didn't think I was doing anything special but after seeing his mother's message and the impact it made, I was so humbled."

Peacock, a 37-year-old full-time career who lives in Liverpool, told BuzzFeed News, "I wasn't aware of how viral my post was. I was overwhelmed."

She said: "The main thing I want people to take away is that we need to raise awareness for people on the autism spectrum. One in four boys have mental health problems and one in four boys are autistic. They exist in society, we should be accommodating of them and treat them as equal"

Her post was shared on County Road Regeneration's Facebook group where it received over 2,000 likes and lots of heartfelt comments.

"More supporters need to be aware of different types of disability," one said.

Soon afterwards, Everton's official Facebook account shared Peacock's post on their page. "A great story from the Everton Family at last night's match," it said.

Peacock said Kyle, who loves Everton, thinks it's crazy that his mother's post is now viral. "He thinks he is famous now, he said he is too famous to do chores," she laughs. But he wants young people who are like him not fear to go to see their favourite artist or go to a football game."

Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Victoria Sanusi at victoria.sanusi@buzzfeed.com.

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