You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Boy with Rare Genetic Condition Adorably Becomes Best Buds with the Janitor at His Hospital

People logo People 5/1/2019 Jason Duaine Hahn
a man sitting on a table: Boy with Rare Genetic Condition Adorably Becomes Best Buds with the Janitor at His Hospital © Provided by TIME Inc. Boy with Rare Genetic Condition Adorably Becomes Best Buds with the Janitor at His Hospital

A 4-year-old boy from Minnesota made a new friend after he received treatment for a rare genetic condition last year.

Cooper Baltzell has already endured many hospital stays in his young life due to Hirschsprung disease, a rare birth defect that affects his body’s digestive system, reports NBC affiliate KARE. The condition — which causes muscles in the bowels to lose their ability to move stool through the intestine — occurs in one in every 5,000 children and is usually appears shortly after birth, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

When Cooper checked into the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital last year for treatment, it was the first time he came across the facility’s longtime janitor, Gregory Watson, who was just assigned to the fifth floor, where the young boy was staying.

The pair instantly found chemistry together and bonded over their love of salty popcorn, which helps Cooper stay hydrated.

“He’s a familiar person that Cooper can go and chat with in between getting poked — really unpleasant procedures to get things moving through his body,” Cooper’s mother, Ashley Baltzell, told CNN.

During his hospital stays, it’s hard for Cooper to be in his room since he’s talkative and likes to socialize, Baltzell said. Luckily, Watson loves a good chat, and he quickly became the go-to person for Cooper to talk to in between his treatments — something which Baltzell is grateful to have.

“It’s nice for me to have somebody who’s friendly and talks to you coming into your room,” she explained.

But Watson said he’s the one who is lucky to have Cooper.

“He’s the coolest kid I ever met,” he said.

“He’s just so outgoing and always has a good attitude,” Watson continued. “Most kids — when they’re sick, they’re not happy. He’s always happy. Always.”

Cooper is now doing better and hasn’t had to go back to the hospital, but he still thinks about his best friend.

RELATED: Man, 81, Who Cuddles NICU Babies Donates $1M: ‘I Need to Do Everything I Can to Help’

Baltzell bought her son a toy cleaning kit so he can wipe the floors just like Watson.

“He’s just been playing with it the last few weeks,” she told CNN.

As he mops, Cooper pretends he’s Watson, Baltzell said, and she sometimes catches him saying, “I’m Gregory.”

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from People

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon