It was a touching moment that inspired the internet—but the teen at the center of the story wants everyone to know there was nothing extraordinary about it.
Ben Robinson, a teen with Down syndrome, got a surprise he never saw coming back in April. A student at Mountain Heritage High School in Burnsville, North Carolina, he was led into the auditorium by some fellow students…
On stage, he saw some of his classmates holding up signs…
And then out came his friend Rachel Newberry with an important question…
She asked him to prom!
It was an overwhelming surprise—Robinson wasn’t expecting his friend to ask him to prom, let alone make a big promposal for him. He cried with happiness.
“Don’t cry, you’re gonna make me cry!” Newberry told him.
She assured him they would have a great time and dance together all night.
My prom date is better than yours💁🏼♀️💗😍 pic.twitter.com/yyyp9qrjEV
— Rachel Newberry (@RachelNewberry8) April 23, 2018
Newberry posted the video on Twitter, where it went viral with nearly 6 million views.
However, Newberry read the comments and noticed people calling her “incredible” and “amazing” for asking someone with Down syndrome to prom.
Indeed, we see many of these stories every prom season, where a popular student asks their special needs peer to go to prom to be inclusive. But that was not Newberry’s intention.
“It’s not that at all,” she told CBS News. “I don’t think that me asking my friend to prom makes me a good person.”
Ben is so incredibly loved in the community that we live in, and the only reason I filmed and posted the promposal was so that the people who know and love him could enjoy!😊
— Rachel Newberry (@RachelNewberry8) April 24, 2018
The real story is that Newberry and Robinson have a bond that goes way back and defies their differences.
They’ve been best friends since childhood!
As kids, Newberry and Robinson went to Sunday school together and formed an instant bond—well before Newberry understood that her friend had Down syndrome.
“I guess someone told me eventually and explained it,” she said.
Back then, she was the only one who was able to get Robinson to calm down. To this day, they’re still genuine, unbreakable friends.
Now seniors in high school, Newberry unequivocally calls Robinson her “best friend,” so in her eyes there’s nothing remarkable about her asking him to prom, even if from an outsider’s perspective it seems like she asked him to be charitable.
When prom night arrived, these two old friends entered arm in arm—and Robinson was the hit of the dance floor.
It’s an inspiring story—but one not of a random act of kindness, but of a genuine lifelong friendship.