Watch Robert Downey Jr. Surprise Young Fan Whose Life Was Changed By Iron Man

Many people have stories about being inspired by Marvel characters but for a 10-year-old by the name of Vincent the character of Iron Man changed his life. Appearing on The Ellen Show with his family (mom; Nicole and dad; Andy), Vincent was introduced to Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr., where he and his parents opened up about how Downey's Marvel roles changed their lives. "This really grabbed me," Downey said to the family. "I have a few questions for y'all. You're ten now. Lost the ability to speak when he was one and then what happened?"

What happened was the family identified "red flags" in their son's behavior. Having other family members on the autism spectrum, they went on to get a confirmed diagnosis of their son being on that spectrum. The little boy says that not being able to communicate his thoughts was "painful." It is all laid out in the heartwarming video where the family meets Downey for the first time in the video above.

"When you were six, something happened?" Downey asks. That was when Vincent got an Iron Man helmet which he used to learn to communicate. He felt confident behind the mask and, according to his dad, a different child emerged within 48 hours. "To me, too, it's so wild in playing this character, there's something I think for all of us when you're able to wear a mask if you're doing theater in school or Halloween or whatever, I had a particular affinity, you and I both di with this same mask for some reason," Downey said.

The little boy explained how the mask helped him. "It helped me talk, it helped me hide my identity from the world," he said. He went on to name his dog Mr. Stark, complete with an arc reactor Iron Man name tag.

For the actor, moments like these will be hardest part of saying goodbye to the Marvel universe (if he doesn't make a comeback as Iron Man). "People always say, 'What will you miss most about having played this part?' It, obviously, is being able to talk to moms and dads and young folks and being able to say, 'Somehow or other, this had a positive impact on you.'"


Downey went on to present the family with a $20,000 check from Shutterfly.

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