The Voice Of Big Bird Did An AMA, And One Of His Stories Will Make You Cry Like A Baby

Are you ready to have your heart smashed into tiny smithereens? Yes? Wonderful; consider this a fair warning. 

The voice of Sesame Street‘s Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, did an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit the other day. He was promoting his new documentary, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.
Everything was going well, it was very interesting to hear about the man who voiced Big Bird for 45 years. It was excellent to get an idea of what behind the scenes of Sesame Street was like, and everyone was getting a bit nostalgic for their childhoods. I mean, just look at Spinney wearing Big Bird’s legs! Goddamn adorable.
So, all was well until Spinney answered this question:
“What has been your most meaningful interaction with a child during filming? Or maybe from someone who grew up watching you and relayed a poignant story?”
And his answer was heartwrenching: 

Okay, here’s one. 

This is a very sad story, but it’s real. 

I got a letter from a fan who said his little boy, who was 5 years old, his name was Joey, he was dying of cancer.

And he was so ill, the little boy knew he was dying. 

So the man, in his letter, asked if I would call the little boy. He said the only thing that cheered him at all in his fading state was to see Big Bird on television. 

So once in a while, he wouldn’t see Big Bird on some days, because he wasn’t necessarily in every show. So he asked could I telephone him, and talk ot the boy, tell him what a good boy he’s been. 

So I took a while to look up a phone, because this was before cell phones. And they got a long cord to bring a phone to the boy. 

And I had Big Bird say “Hello! Hello Joey! It’s me, Big Bird!” 

So he said “Is it really you, Big Bird?” 

“Yes, it is.” 

I chatted a while with him, about ten minutes, and he said “I’m glad you’re my friend Big Bird.” 

And I said “I’d better let you go now.”

He said “Thank you for calling me Big Bird. You’re my friend. You make me happy.” 

And it turns out that his father and mother were sitting with him when the phone call came. And he was very, very ill that day. And they called the parents in, because they weren’t sure how long he’d last. 

And so his father wrote to me right away, and said “Thank you, thank you” – he hadn’t seen him smile since October, and this was in March – and when the phone was hung up, he said “Big Bird called me! He’s my friend.” 

And he closed his eyes. And he passed away. 

And I could see that what I say to children can be very important. 

And he said “We haven’t seen our little boy smile in MONTHS. He smiled, as he passed away. It was a gift to us. Thank you.”
OH GOD, we are so sorry. To cheer yourself up, watch this spoof of the Oscar-nominated film Birdman, starring Caroll Spinney & Big Bird: Big Birdman.

Image via Youtube