Micheal Phelps has thousands, perhaps even millions of fans. One fan’s post on Phelps’ Facebook page has gone viral. Austin Levingston, 21, congratulated Phelps on the outstanding job he did in Rio. Normally, this would probably get lost in the shuffle, but what he said has touched the hearts of thousands. The post has more than 3,800 likes and continues to grow.
The post reads as followed: “Hello Michael, my name is Austin and I am autistic. I know you may not care to read this, but you are one of my biggest idols and I’ve been following you for a very long time. Right now, I am currently going to college and hoping to become the first person in my whole family to get a degree. I am also a swim competitor just like you and I’m hoping to swim in the Olympics just like you someday.”
Levingston was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder very young. He struggles to communicate with others and has difficulty making eye contact. He claims the pool is his “safe place,” swimming felt good and made him feel normal. Levingston says he was touched by the overwhelming support he has received since posting to Phelps’ page.
The Kansas native says he’s Phelps’s doppleganger. “You will never understand how many people come up to me and mention how I look similar to you!!! Anyway, have a good day, man!! Congrats to you on making big history!!”
Fellow fans of Phelps had words of encouragement for Levingston. “Listen Austin you need to never give up on your dream. I like what you wrote. I like that Phelps is your role model, because he is the best. You can be the best as well, even better than Phelps.”
A mother who also has a son with autism commented, “I really hope Michael Phelps writes you back. You are inspiration to me as my son has autism and he is 12. He wants to play the trumpet and become a special ed teacher. Thanks Austin!!!”
Phelps has yet to respond, but with the post spreading like wildfire, it’s probably only a matter of time.