Cloudy skies didn’t keep The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actor Andrew Garfield away from Bondi Beach on Friday where he attended a surfing event for autism – and left with the love of a little girl.
Alongside Australian surfing world champion Joel Parkinson, the 30-year-old actor strolled down to the famous beach in board shorts and a t-shirt to meet a little-known Australian autism support organisation, Hunter Connect, and to take some very excited children with autism out surfing.
When Andrew first arrived he was introduced to a sandy-haired, four-year-old girl called Rylee Nosworthy, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.
The actor took a particular liking to the shy, smiling darling as she hung back behind her parents, too overwhelmed to approach the star herself.
He spent the morning talking to her parents, Amy and Jason, trying to find out more about Rylee and watched on with a smile as they gently encouraged her into the water and onto a surfboard for the first time – this being no easy feat for a little girl whose life can be rocketed by a change in routine.
Talking about the Spider-Man star, Rylee’s mother Amy, 30, said she was blown-away by how genuine and laid-back the actor was.
“It felt like we were just catching up with friends at the beach – not meeting a celebrity,” Amy said.
“Andrew arrived early and just strolled down the beach, shook our hands and introduced himself to us and straight away started asking questions about Rylee and when she was first diagnosed with Autism.“
The rising Hollywood star spent close to two hours with the children, taking them out on the surfboards and signing merchandise, including Spider-Man branded surfboards to be auctioned off to support children with autism.
But it was a DVD that he signed for Rylee and the events that unfolded afterwards that captured everyone’s heart.
Rylee, whose struggle with normal social interaction is a daily battle, didn’t want to get a photo with Andrew and flatly refused a request for a hug, despite the actor frowning and turning his puppy dog eyes on her.
The actor joked about being rejected by the adorable infant, to which her mother quipped, “You wouldn’t get that very often.”
But his charm and gentle nature eventually wore down Rylee’s barriers resulting in a melt-your-heart moment, not even Rylee’s parents saw coming.
“Towards the end of the day he was signing The Amazing Spider-Man DVDs for the children, when he picked up Rylee's and wrote, ‘I hope one day we get to hug.’”
Little did he know – his hug was coming sooner than he thought.
The little girl surprised everyone when they told her the actor was leaving. She was prompted to give him a high-five before he left but instead followed it up by running into his arms and giving him the hug he was hoping for.
“The look on his face in the pictures we captured was priceless – he really is a superhero!” Amy said.
Rylee has since watched her signed copy of The Amazing Spider-Man movie three times and politely corrects her mother whenever she refers to the actor as Spider-Man, saying, “It’s Andrew, Mummy!.”
more about the organization and another kid andrew bonded with at the source