Like most 9 year olds, Gerald Hamilton was excited about his birthday party.
His mother, Tina Hamilton, had invited Gerald's entire class to their Lake Station home for a March 26 party to help him celebrate.
Twelve said they were coming. None did.
Gerald was too slow, too different; their kids couldn't come to the party, Tina Hamilton said some parents told her when she asked why.
Gerald, who turned 9 on March 20, has developmental issues, having undergone several brain surgeries.
"The doctors told us we would be lucky if he made it to kindergarten. Now they say we'll be lucky if he sees middle school," Tina Hamilton said.
"He's been through a lot," she said.
So Tina Hamilton and Gerald's grandmother, Amelia Lara, of Hobart Indiana, told his story on Facebook, hoping others would help him celebrate with a card.
"He is 9. He just wants to have friends," Lara wrote. "So, no one came, no cards, no presents. So, it is my mission to have as many cards as I can mailed to my little guy."
The response, Tina Hamilton said, has been phenomenal.
"He woke up the next morning and there was a gift for him sitting outside," she said.
"He's been getting gifts every day," his sister Mackenzie said.
Not only has Gerald received cards and presents from all over the world, Hobart, Indiana, Councilman Lino Maggio, D-3rd, received word of what happened and the council threw him a party at the end of Wednesday night's meeting.
"He waited to cut his cake for his friends to come," Maggio said, of the original party that didn't happen.
His mum said it was a K-9 cake that tasted like Reese's candy.
There was no cake at Wednesday's party, but there were presents, everyone sang Happy Birthday and there was a special treat - a visit from Scout, one of the police department's K-9s, and his handler Cpl. Simon Gresser, who gave Gerald his K9 hat and a plastic bucket full of goodies, including a K-9 T-shirt and action figures.
"I like Scout," Gerald said, anxious to go by the animal.
"He wants to be a K-9 handler when he grows up," said Hamilton.
Gerald also received bags of treats and other gifts, including $50 from the Friends of Robinson Lake.
Asked how he feels about all the cards and gifts he's received, Gerald smiled and said, "Good."