And now for something all too rare: a positive, heartwarming story about social media.
A father who sought a rare Postman Pat VHS tape for his autistic son managed to track it down in less than 48 hours with the help of a Twitter campaign.
James Dutton’s 19-year-old son suffers from severe autism and had asked for the tape on his Christmas list, so his dad tweeted out a hopeful request on Sunday evening, which garnered over 7,500 retweets.
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“Does anyone have or know of anyone who may still have this VHS?” he wrote.
Does anyone have or know of anyone who may still have this VHS? My severely autistic son Thomas has written it on his Xmas list…please let me know! pic.twitter.com/wAnE93dbMv
— James Dutton (@jdutton69) November 12, 2017
Among many others, the tweet was seen by Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole, who retweeted it to his 176,000 followers. Thankfully, one of them – @Jilly284 – had a copy of the tape and got in touch with Dutton, who had been “overwhelmed” by the “heartwarming side of human nature” coming to the rescue.
STOP PRESS!! Thanks to wonderful @jilly284 seeing a retweet from @BrendanCole a copy's been found! The response has been absolutely overwhelming and I'm so grateful to everyone for taking the time to give advice, or search in attics! The heartwarming side of human nature ❤️
— James Dutton (@jdutton69) November 14, 2017
“I didn’t imagine when I posted my original tweet yesterday that it would gain quite so much momentum,” Dutton told HuffPost UK.
“I have very few followers on Twitter so I asked my brother Julian (who has over 10k) to retweet it yesterday morning, and ever since then it’s gone mad. So many wonderful offers to look in attics, garages and charity shops.
“I picked up a message from someone in Littlehampton who believed they may have a copy in their garage, but another was found in Bournemouth! Hopefully his mum and I will go and pick it up on Saturday.”
Dutton also said he had received messages supportive from Woodland Animations, the company behind Postman Pat.
All in all, a welcome reminder of what can happen when people on social media pull together to do something good.