Eddie Lin, 22, is an autism balloon artist who makes elaborate sculptures to honor essential workers. Her work has caught the attention of people across the country.
“I think it gives people inspiration to see that even someone with special needs knows the word ‘appreciation’ and shows gratitude in their own special way,” said her mother, Jenny Lin.
Eddie, who goes by the name “Ausome Balloon Creator”, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. When he was 10 years old, he had taught himself how to make stunning balloon sculptures using YouTube tutorials. Since then he has turned that hobby into a lucrative business.
Eddie is fond of superheroes; Marvel superheroes, to be exact. But for him, there are many heroes without capes.
“In his head, people who go further are heroes,” his mother said in an interview with CNN. The family lives in Edison.
“He goes to the doctor’s office and everyone who helps him calls all of them ‘doctors,'” he explained.
Even the family housekeeper receives a bouquet of balloon flowers when she makes her bed.
Eddie’s first sculpture for an essential worker was for his friend’s mother, whom he was trying to cheer up. In a FaceTime call, Kay Mastrocola mentioned that her mother was stressed in her managerial role at her local supermarket.
“She says, ‘Eddie, what do you think you could do to cheer on my mother?'” Lin explained. “Eddie did exactly what is good.”
He made a shopping cart with the simple message that said, “Thank you.”
A simple gesture, powerful meaning
The gesture reached social media, and from there, Eddie’s thanksgiving campaign took off.
Now he has made balloon sculptures for postmen …
Health workers …
Eddie’s small business initially focused on making balloons for special events, such as birthdays on weekends. Now, you’re inundated with paid requests to create similar appreciative gestures throughout the week. Some may take up to 10 minutes to do.
“Balloons just give people that feeling of joy and happiness,” said Jenny Lin.
“It is especially important at this time to show our appreciation to the people who sacrifice their family time and put themselves in danger just to support us,” he continued.
Eddie works part-time at the local library, and his mother says balloon art helped him connect with people despite his autism.
“It definitely helps, the feeling of talking to people. It also increases your self-esteem,” said his mother.
“It’s something he’s good at and he’s proud of it.”
She hopes that seeing her story inspires others to be kind and express gratitude.
“These people would not do their job differently with or without appreciation,” he said.
“But it is natural to want to feel appreciated.”