For Danny and Susan Holcombe of Moore, S.C., it was a day they weren’t sure their son Rion, who has Down syndrome, would ever get to experience.
As Rion, 20, carefully opened his letter from Clemson University earlier this month, his parents anxiously stood by, making sure to capture the moment on camera.
“What does it say?” Rion’s father, Danny, asks on the video, which has stormed the Internet with nearly 1 million views.
“I got accepted,” Rion responds, shocked, almost bewildered by the news.
“We are pleased to inform you of your acceptance into the Clemson LIFE program,” Danny continues to read the letter, helping Rion grasp the exciting news.
Receiving the acceptance letter into Clemson’s LIFE program, which is designed for students with special needs and intellectual disabilities, was certainly a momentous occasion for the family.
“He was looking so forward to this,” Danny told GoodMorningAmerica.com of his son’s potential college future. “There are so few slots available for this program and the competition is really steep. He had no idea if he’d get in or not get in.”
Ever since Susan, Rion’s mother, posted the video to her YouTube page Dec. 6, it has taken over the Internet. But Rion is blissfully unaware of the effect he has had on all those who’ve viewed the heartwarming moment.
“He’s oblivious to the whole thing,” Danny said. “We’re getting all these phone calls from the local papers and TV stations, and he’s just flying below the whole thing. What you see in the video is what you get. He’s genuinely a happy person.”
The Holcombes couldn’t be more excited about their son’s future now that he’ll be enrolled in a college program that will teach him to live independently, giving Rion experience in job training, internships, budgeting finances, cooking and learning to do things around the house.
“There are only about five or six slots available in the program,” Danny said. “And only about five of these programs in the whole state. So it’s something that’s not real common and not accessible to most kids.”
That’s exactly why “For him to get in,” Danny said, “was simply extraordinary for us.”