When Sam Waldron delivered his best man speech at his older brother’s wedding on July 3, 2021, he took the couple and their 170 guests on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
Everyone at the reception laughed and shed some tears as Sam, 23, who has autism, said that his big brother Jonah, 27, was his “hero” and “never looked down” on him.
At the beginning of his speech, Sam admitted he was often terrified to interact with people because of his condition, but through it all, his “best brother” would tell him that “being different is a real strength, not a weakness.”
Sam also had some sweet words for Jonah’s beautiful bride, Madison, 25, who he said had “all the makings of a great sister.”
“For me personally, Maddy, you know that sometimes I can get very uncomfortable and nervous around many people…I have never been that way around you. You give me peace,” Sam said.
“You bring peace to all of those around you. I love you, Maddy.”
In an interview with Daily Mail, Sam said he was “really nervous” before delivering the speech.
“Before I stood up, I wasn’t sure if everyone would like my speech, but I got more comfortable as I started reading,” he recalled.
Sam, diagnosed with autism at age 7, said he also felt like he was fulfilling a greater purpose while standing there and giving his speech, despite his fears.
“I felt like I was speaking out to whoever has autism and that I was speaking for the autism community,” he said.
Jonah couldn’t help but turn emotional as he listened to his autistic younger brother.
After Sam’s speech, everyone cheered and gave him a standing ovation. Jonah then proceeded to hug his brother, clearly so thankful and proud of him.
Sam described his relationship with Jonah as “simply amazing.”
“We hang out together and have fun,” he said.
People with autism may have difficulties in social interactions, but luckily for Sam, he had his family’s support. Jonah and Sam attended the same school, and the caring big brother was always there to guide him.
“He would come to see me during the school day, he would come for help with a subject or as a break,” Jonah said.
“Myself and my parents were the ones he felt the most comfortable talking to about any struggles that he had socially,” he added. “I also became his Respite Care worker, helping him practice social situations in public settings.”
He met Maddy, a teacher, at Wartburg College. When Jonah introduced her then-girlfriend to Sam, the two immediately bonded.
They got engaged on a trip to Buena Vista, Colorado, and as soon as they got home, he asked Sam to be his best man.
“I’ve always known that I wanted Sam as my best man,” he said.
Sam was very happy to have the honor, but he was obviously nervous too.
“I felt like my dream came true,” he said. “I was nervous at first but then I felt happy because I got to be around my best brother.”
Sam practiced for two days and read the speech to his father and aunt to make sure that it was perfect. And on the big day, the rehearsals proved to be worth it because everyone at the reception was touched by his message.
“My favorite part was when he was explaining to Maddy that she gave him peace, because that is exactly how I would explain the way she is with Sam,” Jonah said. “Everyone I saw was crying and laughing, he mixed all of that together very well.”
Jonah and Maddy shared a video Sam’s entire speech on their shared TikTok account, and it has since been viewed by millions of people.
Listen to Sam’s viral best man speech in the video below.
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