Bowling Green boy becomes international sensation online after one-minute birthday song

Published: Jan. 10, 2019 at 6:13 PM CST
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One special boy in Bowling Green turned three years old on January 1.

The family never imagined a casual birthday celebration with a homemade purple cake would


Rhett Flener's smile is one that's now recognized around the world.

"You video your kids and you're not sure if they're gonna do something cute or funny," said Lee Ann Weatherholt Flener, Rhett's mom. "It's our kid, so we obviously think it's pretty cute."

And it's safe to say that everyone else agrees.

"More people were like 'oh you should share this,' 'you should make this so I can share it,' and then it just sorta blew up," said Lee Ann.

Blowing up to nearly 1.2 million shares and 70 millions views on Facebook.

"We've gotten messages on social media from people in Ireland, Paraguay, Mexico," said Lee Ann.

Rhett, the middle child of three boys was born with down-syndrome.

"Have a child born with down syndrome is actually something we talked about prior," said Garet Flener. "We really weren't concerned about that. We were like, okay let's focus on the other aspect he had to have some reconstructive bowel surgeries."

To date, Rhett's pretty much your average three-year-old boy. One that's always on the move, with a lot of personality.

"He's definitely making his community a better place just when we go out somewhere people love interacting with Rhett. It just brings a lot of joy," said Garet.

Watching him, anyone could tell he has a kind soul and loving spirit.

"He just became a big brother so he's all about the baby and wanting to hold him all the time," said Lee Ann, as Rhett hugged and kiss his newest little brother, Brooks.

For this Bowling Green family, an unexpected 70 million views and counting later, and one of their own is a viral sensation in the best way possible.

"It's showing that he's just like everybody else -- he gets just as excited when he gets to blow out his candle," said Lee Ann.

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that make the biggest impacts -- a smile, a laugh, a one minute video of a birthday celebration.

"There's a lot of things happening in the world and joy just needs to happen more," said Lee Ann.

The Flener family is very active in the down syndrome community here. Lee Ann is on the board of directors for Down Syndrome of Southcentral Kentucky.

Rhett has won the 'spirit award' for the Buddy Walk for three years in a row.