RIVERTON, Utah — Professional sports athletes and celebrities are usually who you hear about when it comes to a superstar a young teen looks up to.
But for one young man here in Utah, his idol is the host of the PBS home-improvement show "This Old House."
On Friday, young fan Hayden Farley was given a very special surprise, thanks to his school and Tom Silva.
“Tom Silva probably has no idea how much of an impact he's had on a guy, a 13-year-old, in Utah,” Karl McKenzie, the assistant principal at Kauri Sue Hamilton School in Riverton, told FOX 13.
He says that’s why administrators at the school made a video of Hayden doing his occupational therapy where he mimics "This Old House" host Tom Silva as he works on counting and organizing and goes through his different tasks.
McKenzie says it was a thank you, and they didn’t expect anything in return. He said they were thrilled when they got a box full of goodies from the show for Hayden and a personalized video message from the host himself, knowing how much Hayden would love it.
“Oh my goodness. It was overwhelming, honestly. What a dream!” Hayden’s mom Rachel Farley told FOX 13.
She said her son has always enjoyed watching his father do home-improvement projects around the house, and they came to love watching the program on PBS as a family. But they say it has become much more for Hayden.
“Every single year, I get his IEP [Individualized Education Program] and he's made OK progress. But this year, he's made such huge progress," Rachel said. "I asked the occupational therapist, 'What was the change?' And they said... 'What works for him is when he gets to 'shop,' ... he has to be called Tom. He's working in his shop and then he's motivated to do his occupational therapy."
The video message from Tom Silva begins with: “Hi Hayden! I was watching your video where you were organizing all the silverware. Good for you. You have to practice doing that all the time. It's like I practice with my tools.”
Hayden's family was very grateful for the kind gesture.
“Just the fact that he would take time out of his life to create this video for my son means a lot to me, and for my son as well," said Jeran Farley, Hayden’s dad. "I think today was maybe a highlight in his life, to have Tom Silva actually call him by name and talk to him on this video.”
He added that he believes this will only continue to motivate his son as he works toward his goals moving forward.
“To know that somebody like Tom is rooting for him, I think it will go a long way," Jeran said.