Danny Keefe has childhood apraxia of speech, which means he doesn't speak very well. He also loves to wear suits and ties, even though he's only 6 years old.
So when 11-year-old Tommy Cooney heard Danny was getting picked on at school because of the way he talks, he decided to do something about it.
Their relationship began this past spring when Danny asked his mom if he could join the Bridgewater (Mass.) Badgers peewee football team as water coach. The team's coach, Thomas Cooney, said yes and Danny was given a football jersey like the rest of the team.
"But he asked Coach Cooney if it would be OK if he didn't wear the shirt, but he could he wear his suits and a hat to the games," Danny's mother, Jennifer Keefe, told Yahoo News. "He just feels more comfortable."
She's not exactly sure where his affinity for dressing up comes from, but she says Danny's wardrobe consists of five or six suits and various ties to go with them.
"They get pretty worn," Jennifer Keefe said, "because that's all he wears."
From the day he was born, doctor's warned Danny's parents that he would be severely disabled due to a serious brain hemorrhage, according to the Enterprise.
"You can understand a couple words, but you probably can't understand the story he's telling you," Jennifer Keefe explained.
That's why Danny was picked on. Other kids call him a baby, his mother said.
One day, Danny came home from school sad that kids were picking on him. Keefe's older son, who is a member of the football team, told Tommy Cooney. Danny said, "I don't care what those kids think of me, it's only what I think of myself," according to Jennifer Keefe.
Tommy Cooney went to his mom and told her that he wanted to wear a suit to school.
"I thought it was so nice, I was so touched that he wanted to do that," Jennifer Keefe said. "Then, next thing you know, I'm getting texts from various parents saying, 'Where do you find suits? My son wants to wear a suit.' "
All told, 45 kids showed up to school in either full suits or shirts and ties, according to Keefe, who said it all began with Tommy wanting Danny "to feel loved."
"He was showing him he was loved by dressing like him."
Danny's reaction to the boys swanky threads?
"Just his expression," Jennifer Keefe said — "his eyes got really big, and a smile, and then he said, 'They're dressed just like me!'"
- Arts & Entertainment