Marty Mendoza loves his son more than anything.
“He gives me hope,” Mendoza told KING5 while sharing an embrace with Marty Jr. “Without him, I’m truly lost.”
Marty Jr. lives with severe autism. His mother left when he was just 2 years old.
“I’ve been his mom and dad for almost 30 years. My ex-wife, when he was born, she up and left when he was about 2 years old,” Mendoza said. “She said he was retarded. I hate that word. And basically, I’ve been his mom and dad ever since.”
The boy is non-verbal, but that doesn’t keep him from communicating with his loving father. The two watch movies and listen to music every day in a special room Mendoza outfitted with a projector.
“He’s my whole world,” Marty said. “I’ve never left his side and he hasn’t left mine.”
The two have a lot of love to share every day but, Mendoza admits, Christmastime can be stressful, especially for a single father. He shared his feelings in the Kids with Special Needs Facebook group.
“Hi my name is Marty single dad with disabled son severe autism nonverbal and has seizures and 33 years mentally around 4. I’ve been his mom and dad for over 30 years. I do everything for him. I bathe him feed him change his diaper and clothed him. I don’t work due to his illness so I’m a stay-at-home dad. My son’s never really had a Christmas because we live in a very very tight budget. I’m asking the people on here to see them the kindness of the heart send a total stranger, which is my son, at least a Christmas card to show him that he’s not lost in this world. I know it’s a long shot but I try to do what I can for my son.”
With over 9,200 comments so far, many of the reactions to Mendoza’s post were supportive.
“My 4 year old is on the spectrum, and this is so heartfelt,” wrote Cara Walker. “I am writing a card right now with tears pouring down my face. I can only imagine how flooded with messages your getting but if you can message me, I would love to send him a gift as well!😭💕”
“Me and my daughters just mailed a special package off to your son,” wrote Jessica Jones. “I hope he enjoys them. My daughter and myself handmade them. My oldest daughter said to tell you both that she hopes you have a very wonderful Christmas and she hopes your son enjoys his surprise. Sending love and joy from Georgia…Merry Christmas🎅🌲⛄”
“Feliz Navidad and also your an amazing Dad, patient and kind, loving,” wrote Stacey Marrero. “God has truly blessed you with your son. Many Father’s would run but you love your son so much you take very good care of him. God only knows what a blessing of a father and husband, maybe Tio, brother etc. Bless you and Feliz Navidad to you and your family.”
The struggling father is just hoping others may send some holiday spirit his son’s way. Mendoza left his home address for anyone interested in making that happen.
“Just for him to open up something and see his eyes light up like he did when he saw Santa Claus,” Marty Mendoza said. “That would just mean the world.”
Some have already sent gifts and Christmas cards.
If you would like to help this family out, Mendoza’s address is listed below.
Marty Mendoza, Jr.
419 West Avenue C
Belton, TX 76513
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.