At the beginning of November, Lucien Parisseaux of Calais, France, posted a picture of his son, Manuel, on Facebook. Manuel was about to turn 30, so Lucien asked his friends to send his son some birthday cards.
"I have a favor to ask from all my Facebook friends: my son Manuel is about to turn 30 on November, 22, and he loves to receive postcards," wrote Manuel's father.
He explained that Manuel has Down syndrome and asked for his friends to take a few minutes to write a card and to share the request with their own friends.
Lucien has only 22 friends on Facebook, but his message quickly spread and has now been shared by more than 120,000 people.
It wasn't long before the family started receiving thousands of cards every day.
By November 22, Manuel's birthday, they had received almost 30,000 cards from all around the world.
"We are a bit overwhelmed," his mother Jacqueline told the local press. "We couldn't imagine that my husband's Facebook message would trigger such a phenomenon. It's beautiful, it's wonderful!"
The local post office even had to assign two employees to exclusively take care of Manuel's mail.
"People say that our world is selfish," said Cathy, Manuel's sister. "I can now say that this isn't true. Everywhere, parents asked their kids to draw something for Manuel and taught them about the right to be different."
"People took the time to go to the post office for my brother. It is a beautiful lesson in humanity."
Marie Telling is a Food Editor for BuzzFeed Food and Tasty and is based in New York.