Nothing makes Michael de Groot more excited than being a scientist. His bedroom is full of science experiments and his idol has always been Bill Nye the Science Guy.
The middle school student who has autism got to meet Nye recently when the celebrity scientist was presenting about space exploration before the Senate Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Michael’s sister had a thoughtful friend who interned for the committee and offered to help set up a meeting. The Richmond, Virginia family made arrangements to travel to Washington, DC, but had no idea if their son would get anything more than a handshake and an autograph — a dream come true for Michael.
After the de Groots arrived they were shocked and delighted when they were ushered into a private room where Nye, who knew beforehand the teen was autistic, provided some major one-on-one time with the budding scientist. The quiet room, with no media having been contacted about the event, was the perfect safe haven for an excitable child with autism.
The celebrity spent 20 minutes with the family taking pictures and talking. Michael showed Bill some drawings he had created including his elaborate concept for a futuristic “Nye Science Lab.”
On her blog, Seriously Not Boring, Jennifer Roberts Bittner wrote: Bill noticed Michael was wearing a lab coat and offered to sign it, and Michael thought that was incredibly awesome. He also received a Planetary Society pin, which was proudly pinned to his autographed lab coat.
“When it was all over Michael proclaimed, ‘This was the best day EVER!'”
(WATCH the video below from Richmond station WRIC)
Photo credit: de Groot family / Story tip from Joel Arellano