Then, Shayden came to the house of Brennan and Angell Ray, both 23. While working as a landscaper, Brennan got a phone alert that someone back at his house had pressed his Ring doorbell. Brennan decided to answer the boy wearing a “Jaws” T-shirt while waving hi to the camera.
“What’s up, man?” he asked, speaking through the app on his phone.
“Hi. Um, I just wanted to see if you, if you knew any kids around, like 11 or 12, maybe, because I need, I need some friends — like, really bad,” Shayden said.
A TikTok video that Brennan posted of the two-minute exchange has gone viral, racking up nearly 70 million views in 10 days. Angell started a GoFundMe campaign for Shayden, and 3,185 donors raised more than $37,000 in two days before she shut it down. Nearly 11 million TikTok users liked the video, with one explaining its resonance by saying they “have never wanted to hug a kid so bad in my life.”
Brennan’s TikTok caption: “Little guy looking for friends, broke my heart.”
“I felt like he was, you know, crying out for help,” he told The Washington Post.
Shayden’s predicament has been a years-long issue, said his mother, Krishna Patterson, 34. Having been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism and oppositional defiant disorder, too much stimuli overwhelms Shayden. That makes him prone to outbursts, which has led to bullying throughout his childhood, Patterson said.
When Shayden showed up at Brennan’s doorstep, the 11-year-old asked if he had any children. Brennan said he had a daughter: “She’s 2 years old, though, man.”
“Oh! Okay, that’s great, because I actually, I actually — I love 2-year-olds, to be honest. They are just like the most cutest things I have ever known,” he said.
Seconds later, the two said goodbye. Shayden hopped off the porch and left without having made any friends.
But Brennan was moved.