Sam Waldron, 23, announced to a room of 170 guests how his brother Jonah, 27, is his “hero” and has “never looked down” on him.
A tear-jerking video of the speech, which was later uploaded on Jonah’s Tik Tok account on July 20, shows Sam saying that he is usually scared of interacting with people because of autism, but through the years, Jonah has reminded him “that being different is a real strength, not a weakness.”
The crowd was filled with both tears and laughter when Sam said Jonah’s new wife, Madison Waldron, 25, has “all the makings of a great sister,” and that she’s married the “second most handsome Waldron.”
“I was really nervous before the speech. Before I stood up, I wasn’t sure if everyone would like my speech, but I got more comfortable as I started reading,” Sam said, recollecting the speech. “I felt like I was speaking out to whoever has autism and that I was speaking for the autism community.”
Needless to say, Jonah was touched. “Once he began to speak, I couldn’t hold in the tears of happiness,” he said.
Sam was diagnosed with autism when he was just 7 years old and doesn’t find intense social settings easy.
The two brothers attended the same school, as they were only four years apart. “He would come to see me during the school day, he would come for help with a subject or as a break,” Jonah said.
Jonah also shared that he and his parents were the only ones that Sam felt comfortable talking with about any struggles he had socially. Jonah became Sam’s respite care worker as he helped him practice social situations in public settings.
Caring for Sam inspired Jonah to train as a special education teacher to help other children with special needs.
“My relationship with Jonah is simply amazing, we hang out together and have fun,” Sam said of their bond.
Jonah and Madison, a teacher by profession, met at Wartburg College. When Jonah introduced his new girlfriend to younger brother Sam, the two became best friends immediately.
“Once he met Maddy, he felt completely comfortable right away,” Jonah said.
The couple got engaged while on a trip to Buena Vista, Colorado, and Jonah asked Sam to be his best man as soon as they got home.
“I’ve always known that I wanted Sam as my best man,” said Jonah. “He was very happy, but also you could see that he was nervous too.”
For Sam, to be his brother’s best man was a dream come true.
“I was nervous at first but then I felt happy because I got to be around my best brother,” Sam said.
Sam spent two whole days perfecting his speech before the big day arrived on July 3 this year.
“I would just sit there in Salida and just read it aloud,” he said. “I read it to my Aunt Colleen, Andrew Hoyt, and my Dad many times.”
Sam was truly honored to welcome Madison to their “nut-filled fudge family.”
“My favorite part was when he was explaining to Maddy that she gave him peace, because that is exactly how I would explain the way she is with Sam,” Jonah said. “Everyone I saw was crying and laughing, he mixed all of that together very well.”
Cherishing the special moment, Jonas said: “It is something Maddy and I will always have with us for the rest of our lives.”
After he finished, Sam was given a standing ovation and the newlyweds rushed over to tell him how much of a great job he did.
The entire speech has gone viral on TikTok.
“I felt like I inspired a lot of people so it was good,” Sam said.
Epoch Inspired Staff contributed to this report.