SALT LAKE CITY - Its been 25 years but Britt Allen will never forget the day he met his role model, Stephen Hawking.
In a photo, snapped back in 1993, 13-year-old Allen can be seen sitting side-by-side with Hawking, both in wheelchairs.
“Just be patient while I type," Allen said during our interview.
He uses a voice synthesizer to help him speak. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was only 6-months-old. Hawkins had ALS, but the two shared many of the same physical struggles.
“It’s tough but you have to have a good attitude," Allen said.
He was heartbroken to hear the news Tuesday night that Hawking had passed away. His wife, Cindy, said he was emotional the following morning.
"Anytime he has a hard time or a hard day, we’ll start talking about Stephen Hawking and how many struggles he’s been through and how many people told him he couldn’t do something, and it gets him right back up and going,” she said.
Allen said he was most impressed by Hawking's black hole discoveries and enjoyed his appearances on "The Big Bang Theory.' His accomplishments helped Allen pursue his own, getting his degree in Computer Science.
"He gave me hope to have a normal life," Allen said of Hawking. "The world will never be the same, but I hope the younger generation will take over his work.”