Robert Downey Jr. Meets Boy With Autism in Emotional "Ellen" Interview
In a heartwarming segment, Robert Downey Jr. spoke with a boy who regained his voice thanks to Iron Man.
On Tuesday, Robert Downey Jr. guest hosted The Ellen Show, and one of the most heartwarming segments was when he sat down with a 10-year-old boy with autism named Vincent Arambula, who found his voice thanks to Iron Man. His parents, Nicole and Andy Arambula, said Vincent first lost his ability to speak when he was a year old. Downey Jr. immediately empathized. "Everybody here can relate to that sense of wanting to communicate and not being able to," he said.
Vincent began to show signs of some behavioral issues when he was four, after which he was diagnosed with autism. Then, when he was six, he got an Iron Man helmet, and that changed everything. "Within 24 hours, we saw a different child," his dad said. It seemed to make him feel more "confident" and "grounded," he recalled.
Downey Jr. said he understood that there's something about wearing the Iron Man helmet that even helped him feel empowered as well. When Downey Jr. asked Vincent why he thought the mask helped so much, he replied, "It helped me hide my identity from the world."
And in true Ellen form, the segment ended with Downey Jr. telling the Arambula family that they were getting $20,000. No biggie.
Nicole also shared a backstage photo of them all together on Reddit, and it went viral because it's adorable.
It's not the first time Downey Jr. has gone out of his way to connect with a child with special needs. In March 2018, he flew to London to meet an eight-year-old boy with ROHHAD Syndrome, then danced around in a giant puddle in order to raise awareness and funding for the very rare disease. It's clear he's a superhero both on-screen and off.
And for more celebrities to look up to, check out 11 Times A-List Celebrities Became Real Life Heroes.