Barrett has always loved animals, especially large marine mammals, like whales. For his one true wish, he decided to take that love one step further, so he could learn what it was like to train and take care of his favorite animals.
“I have always wanted to work there [at SeaWorld®] and I wondered if they had real live whales there too,” said Barrett. Barrett shared that “since he was 3-or 4-years-old” he wanted to work with whales.
“I can’t believe how lucky I was to get to train one and to get to see them in person,” he continues.
Barrett’s wish journey began a little before his actual wish. He talked so often about SeaWorld that his parents took him to the park about a year before his wish, just to see if he would really love it as much as he thought he would.
“We went there to feel him out because you only get one wish in your life and I wanted to make sure that he would have a great experience if he wished to go to SeaWorld,” said Jennifer, Barrett’s mom. “I knew, moments after we arrived and saw our first show, that this was the perfect wish for him.”
“My wish was so great,” continued Barrett. “They had a locker and a wetsuit for me and then they took me to a secret area, where they had the whales, so we could train them.”
Barrett learned hand commands and voice commands and soon had the gentle beluga whale coming up to kiss him on the cheek.
“When I touched him, he was wet and rubbery and I learned its head moves to make sounds,” said Barrett. “I learned how to reward the whales when they did a trick and feed them fish. They did a lot of tricks and were swimming around, making noises.”
Barrett cannot stop talking about his experience and continues to dream of working at his favorite place.
“Everything we do now is because he might work at SeaWorld in the future,” said Jennifer. “He wanted to take swimming lessons because he needs to be able to swim to work at SeaWorld. He picks up trash and looks to help animals in need because the environment is so important to the whales.”
The swimming and the dedication also help as Barrett continues his treatment for cystic fibrosis. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for CF patients, according to specialists.
“To see how much this wish affected him, to have him saving baby turtles and baby ducks and still able to talk about every aspect of the wish, I know it will continue to be one of his best memories,” said Jennifer. In addition, the family keeps in touch with one of the trainers and went back to SeaWorld four more times the year after his wish experience.
“We keep in touch and have had plenty of amazing experiences all thanks to the people we met through Barrett’s wish,” said Jennifer.
“My wish changed my life,” said Barrett. “I don’t know how I can ever thank you. It was everything.”