Abington, Pa. (WTXF) Two students with Down syndrome were crowned homecoming king and queen and their story quickly went viral. Nick and Lily not only captured the hearts of their Central Bucks South classmates, but of everyone they meet.
FOX 29's Sabina Kuriakose experienced that first hand as she spent a day on the job with a most popular king.
Walk down the halls of Abington Hospital's neonatal unit and if you hear Christmas a jingle, you'll know Nick McGee is in.
"I'm here to help people by folding and scanning,” Nick told FOX 29.
"He is absolutely loved everywhere he goes,” said Abington Hospital Neonatology Division Chief Dr. Gerard M. Cleary.
That love is palpable in the viral video taken just as the 18-year-old Central Bucks South senior is crowned this year's homecoming king.
Nick's contagious joy got the crowd on their feet and soon spilled out onto Facebook and Twitter to a worldwide audience. It’s a moment that moved so many friends and strangers alike.
It's that very smile he brings to his job folding brochures and filing paperwork for his afterschool job at Abington Hospital. A place where Nick and his mom say he's found the same love and support so evident on that football field.
"They believed in him. They believed he could do the work and I think he liked that and could feel that," his mother, Kim McGee, said.
"They make me feel special because there are good people to be around here," Nick explained.
Nick comes here twice a week for a few hours each day. Dr. Gerard Cleary is Nick's boss, he's also his next door neighbor since childhood.
Dr. Cleary says too often kids like Nick are judged on their differences when they should be allowed to shine for their unique strengths...
Everyone who knows Nick can attest that Nick's love of life touches everyone around him. Nick's mom says it also sparked something a little deeper in the people who saw the viral video.
"Yesterday somebody called me, the grandparent of a 9-month-old child with Downs Syndrome and she said to me that the video gave her hope and gave the mom hope too. So I think it's spreading joy, spreading the hope of a future for our kids,” said Nick’s mom, Kim McGee.
As for Nick's future, this driven teenager has his eye on the prize, banking the paychecks he earns for a trip to Disney with his school band in the spring.
"I'm really happy to be with them. They're my friends since Kindergarten,” Nick explained.