At the end of August, Max Bird, who was born with Down syndrome and suffers from speech impairment called Apraxia, reach a milestone. It was pronouncing the “k” in his favorite country singer’s name, Luke Bryan, after months of practice with a speech pathologist.
Sarah Sitzmann of Enrichment Therapies in Urbandale, Max’s speech pathologist, captured the moment in video and approached Max’s mother, Jaimi Bird, about uploading it to Facebook. Sitzmann hoped the video would reach Luke Bran and give Max a chance to meet his idol when he brought his Farm Tour to Boone in Late September.
Jaimi hesitantly agreed and the video had more than 90,000 and 1,300 shares on Facebook.
At last, on Saturday night at the Farm Tour stop, the attention paid off tenfold as Jaimi watched her son share stories with his favorite singer.
“The first thing [Bryan] said to Max was ‘Let me hear you say my name.’ Max grinned huge and said ‘Luke Bryan’ with a perfect ‘k.’ My husband and I both had tears in our eyes,” Jaimi Bird said. “It was amazing.”
The video reached multiple industry professionals and organizations associated with Bryan, Jaimi Bird said. It was Bayer, a corporate sponsor for the Farm Tour, that stepped up and gifted VIP passes to the Bird family, including a meet-and-greet with Bryan. The initial plan was for Jaimi and Max Bird to meet Bryan, but the tour issued four passes — two extra for father Paul and brother Mitchell — on show day.
Bryan signed autographs, took photos, doled out a few fist bumps and even sang a bit with Max Bird. The song of choice? “Here’s to the Farmer,” Max Bird’s favorite.
“At that moment, it wasn’t about his speech,” Jaimi Bird said. “It wasn’t about what he couldn’t do. It was about what he could do. … Luke understood him, they connected and it was a special, special moment.”