St. Charles family’s heartbreaking social media post spurs big surprise from St. Louis nonprofit

A St. Charles man at the center of a heartbreaking viral social media post is on the receiving end of a big surprise, thanks to a St. Louis nonprofit.
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 6:10 PM CST
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ST. CHARLES (KMOV) -- A St. Charles man at the center of a heartbreaking viral social media post is on the receiving end of a big surprise, thanks to a St. Louis nonprofit.

Christian Bowers, 24, became internationally known earlier this month when his mother put out a plea on Facebook.

“I’m looking for a young man, between the ages of 20-28 who would like to make some extra money,” the post begins. “Two days a month for two hours, I’ll pay you to be my son’s friend. All you have to do is sit with him and play video games in his room. Nothing else. He’s 24 and has Down Syndrome and doesn’t have any friends his age. You will not be alone with him, myself or his grandpa will be home.”

“...The reason I’m paying is to guarantee you show up. He’s had many people tell him ‘someday I’ll visit,’ and they never do.”

Nearly overnight, Donna Herter said her post went viral, amassing more than 60,000 shares and thousands of comments.

“I still have people messaging, and I’m adding more dates and I just can’t stop smiling and it’s not even for me, it’s for him,” she said. “He has not been this happy in years, this is the happiest I’ve seen him in years.”

Herter said the majority of comments on her post were positive, filling up the calendar for the next several months with new friends from across St. Louis, who expect nothing in return. She’s even received offers from as far away as London and Australia.

“He’s way more disappointed usually than he is happy, so this is great,” she said.

On Saturday, Bowers was treated to several new friends from the nonprofit STL Youth Sports Outreach. Founder Billy Mayhall said he knew he had to do something upon seeing Herter’s Facebook post.

“That was a really heartbreaking post, it really was,” he said. “People now are starting to see a lot of these kids with special needs need somebody in life, just like we do, no different.”

Mayhall called his friend Derk Brown, who has a large social media following. Together, along with other donors and Clement Hyundai, Bowers was treated to a 65″ flat-screen TV, a new TV stand, a wireless sound bar, Blues tickets and plenty of snacks for late-night gaming sessions.

“Wow,” said Herter. “I mean, like Christian kept saying, ‘O.M.G’, I think that’s how we all feel. I was not expecting any of this. I thought maybe a little care package.”

Saturday’s delivery included set-up and a lunch date for Bowers, who is looking forward to new friends coming over to enjoy his new set-up.

“It’s big!” he said. “It’s like heaven.”

If you’re interested in mailing Christian a letter, his family asks you use the following address:

PO Box #1428

Saint Charles, MO 63302

The below address can be used for care packages:

For packages:

1890 1st Capital Drive


Saint Charles, MO 63302