Justin Timberlake brings happy back with birthday song for boy with autism

All 8-year-old Julian Delan wanted for his birthday was to see Justin Timberlake in concert. He got his wish and then some when JT actually sang “Happy Birthday” to the young fan, getting a stadium of 25,000 to join in during the singer’s Aug. 11 stopover in San Jose, California.


At first Julian’s parents were hesitant to bring their son to the concert — Julian has a form of autism that can lead to disruptive behavior, mom Marika wrote in a touching blog post on Manifest-Station. But Julian is such a big Timberlake fan (able to replay to “SexyBack” thousands of times and “never get sick of it”), they decided to grant his birthday request.

Julian spent the early part of the show trying to catch Timberlake’s attention from his seat, to no avail. Nearby audience members took up the cause, raising their voices in unison to alert Timberlake to the birthday boy in attendance.

After bantering with the family from the stage (and apologizing to Julian’s parents for having used some bad words earlier in the performance), Timberlake said, “You know what, Julian? This is for you.”  

“And then it happened,” Marika wrote. “Justin Timberlake was singing ‘Happy Birthday.’ They all were. … All 25,000 of them.”

Well wishers engulfed the family after the concert. “It took us over an hour just to get outside the arena whilst Julian was high-fiving and fist-bumping everyone that stopped him,” Marika wrote.

In an open expression of gratitude to Timberlake and his fans, her post continued, “Thank you for showing me I was wrong about what the world would do when they saw my son. Thank you for seeing him and not just his disability. Most probably didn’t even know he had one. They were too busy singing along with Justin. They were all too busy showing me a lot about human nature, and a few things about love.”


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