A father in New York decided to step in after his daughter with an autism spectrum disorder couldn’t find an escort in time to her senior prom, Yahoo Lifestyle reported.
Thomas Perl, 50, said that his daughter Tori, 17, a senior at Batavia High School in New York, was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in the seventh grade. She is much like “a 13-year-old living in a 17-year-old girl’s body.”
“Tori doesn’t have a huge circle of friends. A lot of her friends in grade school bypassed her a long time ago and Tori wanted to stay who she was,” Thomas said.
“She’d rather play with video games and play with dolls than look at boys, which I’m totally okay with,” Thomas joked.
Thomas never went to his senior prom in high school, he wanted Tori to experience a milestone he never had—high school prom after a family friend said they had a dress for Tori.
“This is the big one before she graduates. I just wanted her to go and experience this with someone that she will go have a good time with,” Thomas told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I wanted Tori to go because I want her to have memories of it since I never went to mine.”
His wife, Anna, reportedly asked three different boys to take her daughter to the prom. Two of them said no, and one did not respond. Then, Thomas decided he was the best person to escort Tori to the dance.
The assistant principal made an exception for Thomas to take his daughter to prom since dates over 20 years old are not typically allowed.
Thomas with his 10-year-old tuxedo escorted Tori to their first-ever senior prom.
“We got some looks when we walked in. Everyone is like, ‘Who is the old guy walking in with Tori?’” Thomas recalled. “But, these kids walked up to Tori and said she looked beautiful.”
Even though Tori didn’t win prom queen, it was a night they will never forget.
Thomas hopes their story can be an inspiration for other people.
“I’m sure I’m not the first one who’s done something like this, but I’m certainly not the last. I hope stories like this can change the world. There’s nothing that can stop these kids from doing what they want to do,” Thomas said.