BRIDGEWATER, Mass. —Kindergartner Danny Keefe is getting the Hollywood treatment this week.
The dapper 6-year-old is in Los Angeles to be a guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” after schoolchildren rallied in recent weeks to support the Bridgewater boy who has a speech impediment and has been picked on by other children, the Enterprise reported.
“It feels pretty good. I’m happy,” Danny said Wednesday in a telephone interview from Universal Studios Hollywood.
Danny said he picked up a stuffed animal of Nemo to give to DeGeneres, who played the role of the forgetful fish Dory in the film “Finding Nemo.”
Danny’s devoted friend, Tommy Cooney of Bridgewater, joined him in Los Angeles.
“It feels amazing because we’re in California and we’re going to Ellen,” said Tommy, 11, a fifth-grader at Williams Intermediate School.
Danny and Tommy have been in Los Angeles with their parents, Mark and Jennifer Keefe and Tom and Corinne Cooney, since Sunday and they expect to fly home on Friday. Danny was scheduled to tape the show Thursday, with his segment set to air on national television on Friday, he said.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airs locally at 4 p.m. Friday on WCVB-TV Channel 5.
Danny’s father, Mark Keefe, said his family is in awe of the national media attention Danny has received.
“It still seems so surreal. We look at each other, and we just laugh like, ‘This is really happening?’” Keefe said Wednesday. “It’s amazing. The kids are having a blast.”
Keefe said the show paid for the round-trip airfare and hotel stay for Danny, Tommy and their parents.
Danny, the official water coach for the Bridgewater Badgers Div. 5 Peewees, made headlines last month when The Enterprise reported his teammates had rallied together to support him, after they saw Danny was getting picked on because of the way he speaks.
Danny speaks with difficulty due to childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) after suffering a serious brain hemorrhage at birth, his family said.
Tommy, the Badgers’ quarterback, decided to wear a suit to school – just like Danny, who wears a suit and fedora to school every day – in a show of support for his young friend.
In November, for “Danny Appreciation Day,” more than 40 students from the Mitchell and Williams schools crowded around the little boy in the Williams school library cheering, “Danny, Danny.”