(NEW YORK) — At first, Colin Haas and Kahlief Hill seemed an unlikely pair.
But then Colin asked if he could show Hill a card trick — and a friendship quickly blossomed.
Colin, 13, was checking into the Hampton Inn in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, where Hill was working the desk.
Their interaction might have ended there, except for one important thing.
“From the very first interaction, Kahlief was so friendly and nice,” Colin’s mom Megan Haas told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “We got to our room and Colin went right back out to see him.”
Colin has autism, his mom said, something Hill didn’t realize initially. In a Facebook post of their encounter that’s been shared thousands of times, Haas wrote, “He didn’t know that this little boy has autism. That learning and doing card tricks is a passion of his because it helps to quiet and focus his brain as well as keep his hands busy.”
“He didn’t know that this little boy lost his dad a few years ago, has been on the waiting list for a ‘big brother’ for well over two years now, and lives with only his mom and sister, so very much misses interacting with male figures,” she added.
Haas told “GMA” that while Colin is close with his grandfather and uncle, the boy, who spends the majority of time with his sister and mom since his dad passed away, enjoys spending time with other guys.
After the initial interaction at check-in last Friday night, Colin was happy to see Hill once again when he arrived to work on Saturday afternoon.
“Kahlief helped guests as he needed to, but when he wasn’t busy he taught Colin the card trick they had worked on the night before,” Haas said. “He was so patient and sweet.”
Haas eventually pulled Hill over to thank him.
“At first I was nervous,” Hill told “GMA.”
“Usually when someone wants to speak to you outside it isn’t good,” he laughed.
But it was good — very good.
“I didn’t realize it would affect him that way,” Hill told “GMA.” “I didn’t think it was such a big deal.”
Haas said she was “so appreciative.”
“He’s just a good person,” she said. “That’s just how he is.”
As for Colin, his mom told “GMA” he’s been going on and on about Hill since they got home. He even friended him on Facebook.
The two will be seeing each other again soon: The Hampton Inn Selinsgrove is hosting an Autism Awareness brunch at a nearby Applebee’s at the end of the month, and Hill has invited Colin to come as his guest.
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