Groom's autistic younger brother leaves 170 wedding guests in tears and stitches as he delivers heartwarming message to his 'hero'
A best man speech by an Iowa groom's autistic brother left wedding guests - as well as millions of viewers on social media - in tears and in stitches.
Sam Waldron, 23, told his audience that his brother Jonah, 27, was his 'hero' and 'never looked down on me' at the wedding in July.
Video of the tear-jerking speech shows Sam saying he was often scared to interact with people because of his autism, but through it all, Jonah would remind him 'that being different is a real strength, not a weakness.'
There were tears of joy as well, especially when Sam told guests that Jonah's new wife Madison Waldron, 25, had 'all the makings of a great sister', and joked that she had married the 'second most handsome Waldron.'
'I was really nervous before the speech,' Sam said. 'Before I stood up, I wasn't sure if everyone would like my speech, but I got more comfortable as I started reading.
'I felt like I was speaking out to whoever has autism and that I was speaking for the autism community.'
Jonah was unable to stop himself from crying. 'Once he began to speak, I couldn't hold in the tears of happiness,' he said.
'My relationship with Jonah is simply amazing, we hang out together and have fun,' Sam said.
Sam was diagnosed with autism when he was seven years old, and didn't find intense social settings easy.
The two brothers went to the same school, and Jonah said: 'He would come to see me during the school day, he would come for help with a subject or as a break.'
'Myself and my parents were the ones he felt the most comfortable talking to about any struggles that he had socially,' he added. 'I also became his Respite Care worker, helping him practice social situations in public settings.'
Caring big brother Jonah was even inspired to train as a Special Education Teacher to help other children with special needs.
Jonah and teacher Madison met at Wartburg College, and when Jonah introduced his new girlfriend to younger brother Sam, the two were immediate best friends.
'Once he met Maddy, he felt completely comfortable right away,' Jonah said.
The couple got engaged on a trip to Buena Vista, Colorado, and Jonah asked Sam to be his best man as soon as they got home.
'I've always known that I wanted Sam as my best man.'
'He was very happy, but also you could see that he was nervous too.'
Sam said: 'I felt like my dream came true.'
'I was nervous at first but then I felt happy because I got to be around my best brother.'
Sam spent two whole days perfecting his speech before the big day arrived on July 3 this year, including reading it to his father and aunt.
He stood up in front of the 170 wedding guests to deliver his speech, where he says he's honoured to be his best man and welcomes Madison to their 'nut-filled fudge family'.
'My favourite part was when he was explaining to Maddy that she gave him peace, because that is exactly how I would explain the way she is with Sam,' Jonah said. 'Everyone I saw was crying and laughing, he mixed all of that together very well.'
'It gave me great pride to have him as a brother,' Jonah added. 'It is something Maddy and I will always have with us for the rest of our lives.'
After he finished, Sam was given a standing ovation and the newlyweds rushed over to tell him how great a job he did.
The entire speech was recorded and uploaded to Jonah's TikTok account on July 20, and went viral.
It currently has over 6.2 million views and 760,000 likes, which came as a happy surprise for Sam.
He said: 'I felt like I inspired a lot of people so it was good.'