You’ve heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, it took a community in Michigan to pull off a big surprise for a 16-year-old Portage Northern student with autism. RELATED: How stickers help officers interact with community members with autism

It all started with Julian Martinez’s best friend Korey Bradshaw.

“Someone told him retards can’t go to prom. So, like, that completely brought him down. Like, ‘I’m never gonna get to go to prom,’ and someone told him a retard can’t get a date,” Bradshaw said.

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Bradshaw wanted to do something special for Martinez, so she decided to ask him to prom.

With a little help, Bradshaw was able to connect with Ricki Strasser from Wicked Jeeps West.

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Strasser says her heart was broken when she learned about the bullying Martinez had experienced and wanted to help.

“They broke his phone, they punched him in his stomach, they called him horrible names and they’ve told him to commit suicide. You know, things like that. It’s not okay to do that to anybody,” Strasser said.

The Jeeps served as a prop for one very important question: Will you go to prom?

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“Everyone seems to try to single him out due to his disability and, like, we all try to avoid the fact that he has this disability because he’s still his own person,” Bradshaw said.

Several companies stepped in to offer up a corsage and boutineer, hair, and a special suit for Martinez.

The event, from start to finish, put a big smile on his face.

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