Vacuum Demo: Best Birthday Ever for Autistic Teen

Dylan Johnson, 14, knew more about vacuums than salesman did at his birthday bash
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2015 12:35 PM CST

For 25 years, Al Archie has been a salesman for the Kirby vacuum company, but he finally met his match in appliance expertise over the weekend: Dylan Johnson, an autistic teen whose mom had commissioned Archie to come to Chesterfield, Va., to do a vacuum demo for her son's 14th birthday, WTVR reports. Dylan had never been into "normal" toys, mom Jodie Greene explains to the station; instead, since the age of 2, he always gravitated toward vacuums. "He spends hours every day watching videos on his tablet about different Kirby's," she wrote in a letter to the vacuum company, requesting a special birthday demo for her son. "When he isn't watching videos about them, he is talking about them." Dylan even dressed up as a vacuum salesman one Halloween.

So Archie headed out from Fredericksburg to do the demo, which was more than well received by the birthday boy. "I imagine it was like a sports fan meeting one of his idols, like Michael Jordan," he says, per WTVR. Archie was also impressed with Dylan's vacuum knowledge. "He said that Dylan knew the names of the parts better than he did," Greene says, per BuzzFeed. Archie had one more surprise for Dylan at the end of the party: a brand-new Kirby vacuum (and they're pretty expensive). "There was not a dry eye in the house," Dylan's mom tells WTVR. "We thank our distributor, Al Archie, for his generosity and selflessness," a company spokeswoman tells People. The company added on Facebook that "it was a privilege to arrange for the demonstration." (Meanwhile, the Brits have been hoarding their vacuums.)

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