Country star Luke Bryan has made a name for himself with his catchy songs and million dollar smile. But for one little boy with autism, his music means so much more.
Four-year-old Riley has Asperger syndrome, and he finds an outlet in listening to Luke Bryan's country hits. “When Riley pretends to be Luke, he is a whole other person," his mother Marjorie wrote in a letter to 107.7 WGNA Albany Country Radio. "He's not afraid or shy. He has confidence and feels free."
Marjorie was inspired to write a letter about the joy Bryan's music has brought to her son after she and Riley saw the singer perform in Saratoga Springs. The mother and son "had great seats," she noted, and Riley wore a baseball cap (just like Bryan) as well as a shirt that said "Luke Bryan is one of the pieces to my puzzle." "It looked like [Luke] tried to read my son’s shirt, but couldn’t or didn’t understand it," she wrote.
Still, the 4-year-old had an incredible time at the show. "Every time Luke turned his hat around during the concert, so did Riley," Marjorie said in the letter, adding:
"On our way out of the show, Riley pulled me down and said ‘I didn’t know all the songs mommy. I need to learn all the songs.’ He just loves music. Sorry for such a long letter, but I just want Luke and all other artists to know that their music is a powerful thing and truly helps those with disabilities to express themselves and get through rough parts of their day.”
After receiving the letter, WGNA invited Marjorie and Riley to tour the station and talk about the effects of music on children with autism. Little did they know, there was an even bigger surprise waiting for them.
After Marjorie spoke on the air about the therapeutic power of the Luke Bryan's music, the country star himself chimed in, revealing that he had been listening on the phone the entire time. The singer proceeded to talk directly to Riley and sing one of the little fan's favorite Luke Bryan songs. The smile on Riley's face was priceless.
As if we needed another reason to love Luke Bryan.
(hat tip: Country Music Nation)