BOSTON (CBS) – The bond between Luke McNair and Andy Brooking is unlike any other. The two teenagers have two things in common: a love for “The Lion King” musical, and life on the autism spectrum.
McNair is from Portland, Oregon and Brooking is from Portland, Maine. The boys began a friendship online when they started commenting on each other’s Lion King YouTube videos. “[Andy kept saying] ‘my friend Luke, my friend Luke…I didn’t realize he was talking about somebody online for a while!” Brooking’s mom Jennifer said. “Who’s this kid [Luke’s] meeting online?” McNair’s mom Chrissy added. “I don’t know anything about him!”
The moms were equally cautious, and as McNair and Brooking Facetimed for the first time, their moms anxiously stood in the corner. Eventually, they’d become virtual friends themselves.
“We’re very good friends,” Brooking said about McNair. “We’ve done a lot of things together, not in person, but on the Internet.”
The boys video-chatted each other every day for nearly two years, looking forward to the day when they could finally meet. That day came on Oct. 24, when they traveled from the two Portlands to see “The Lion King” at the Boston Opera House together.
“It is a very special treat just to see this amazing musical,” McNair said. “We are going to see it at 1 o’clock PM!”
After the boys met and got in a quick warm up of their favorite song “Be Prepared” – villain “Scar’s” staple song – they were off to the matinee. After it was over, they ended the show in the best way possible: a meet and greet with the cast.
Luke and Andy’s moms say the show has been more than a show or a hobby for their sons with autism, but rather, has changed their lives. “It’s expanded [Luke’s] world,” Chrissy McNair said. “Without ‘The Lion King,’ I think his world would be much smaller.”