Life
Teen athlete takes classmate with disability to prom for unforgettable evening
Brendan wanted to be the guy to take Ellie to prom, and luckily, she said 'yes.'
Jenny Brown
12.14.21

There are some people in this world who seem to have everything going for them. Many would consider Brendan Ritchie to be one of them.

In addition to being a straight-A student, he’s also an athlete that plays roller hockey, ice hockey, and is on the high school cross-country team. But most importantly, he’s an amazing friend.

When deciding who to bring to prom, he wasn’t basing his choice on who was the most popular. He based it on something a whole lot more genuine – friendship.

YouTube - KSDK News
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YouTube - KSDK News

That’s how a prom that will never be forgotten came to be.

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YouTube - KSDK News

A group of friends

Several students at the Fort Zumwalt West High School have been spending their lunchtime together at the same table for the past few years. They’re just a happy mix of kids who have grown to like each other over those years. Among them is Ellie McCool.

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YouTube - KSDK News

A little background on Ellie

Ellie was born with a severe rare brain disorder called Rett syndrome that only affects girls. Her mom says that she was like any other toddler until she turned about four years old, then something just changed. Part of her seemed like it had simply shut down.

Mickie McCool knew her same bright and happy daughter was in there, but the disability made it more difficult for Ellie to express herself, especially verbally.

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YouTube - KSDK News

A part of the group

That never stopped the group of friends at school from including Ellie. Her best friend, Nicole Olf, says that despite her not speaking, Ellie is bright, friendly, and caring. She always seems to have a positive attitude and a smile on her face. Who wouldn’t want someone with those qualities at their lunch table? Who wouldn’t want them as a friend?

A date to the prom

It only made sense to offer Ellie the same kindness and caring that she had shown to them over the years. That is what made Brendan’s choice so easy. He knew exactly who he needed to invite to the prom.

Brendan was aware that Ellie’s favorite movie was Iron Man, so he decided to dress up as Iron Man, complete with the mask and a sign, and ask Ellie to the prom in front of the entire cafeteria.

Everyone loved it, including Ellie.


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YouTube - KSDK News

Of course, she agreed to go to the prom with him. Just about every girl dreams about going to the prom, and Ellie was no exception. That she would get to have this moment was incredible. Her mom was happy for her and her friends were happy for her; everyone was blown away by the invitation to the prom.

They all knew that she deserved this special moment in her life, this memory that would last a lifetime.

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YouTube - KSDK News

Along came the night of prom

By prom night, Ellie was fully prepared. She was dressed for the occasion and ready to go when Brendan arrived.


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YouTube - KSDK News
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YouTube - KSDK News

Their friends from the lunch table were all there for prom night as well. They spent the evening together, took pictures, danced, and made the most of a shared and wonderful moment that would become a memorable part of their high school experience for this amazing group of teens.


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YouTube - KSDK News

It’s one of those touching stories that causes your heart to almost burst. One viewer commented:

“Wow what an amazing great story…. great kids in that school… being raised right. Seems like the whole school was raised right!!!”

Another wrote:

“This makes me so happy that our future will be brighter in the hands of these fine young boys and girls.”

Be sure to check out the video below to see more on this beautiful act of kindness!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jenny Brown
hi@sbly.com
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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