KILLEEN, Texas — A Reeces Creek Elementary School student with special needs will get the surprise of her life Thursday, just days before her twelfth birthday.

Kayla Rae is a major fan of the Dallas Cowboys’ mascot Rowdy. Her mother, Martha Garibay Bartolo, said Kayla is deaf, partially blind, has mild cerebral palsy and autism.

The big surprise started as just a simple request for a birthday mention, Bartolo said.

“I reached out to Rowdy via Facebook and asked him if maybe on her birthday he could do a shout out to her on Facebook or maybe send her an autograph picture in the mail,” she said.

Bartolo said she told Rowdy how much Kayla loves him and the team.

“I explained to him that when you mention the Cowboys and who her favorite player is, she always says, ‘Rowdy,’” Bartolo said.

She said it only took minutes for Rowdy to respond and not only to give Kayla birthday shout out, but an in-person visit.

“Not more than 5 minutes after I had sent him (Rowdy) the email he responded and gave me a number for a possible appearance. He said that according to the address I provided he was only going to be about 15 -20 minutes away on the 14th,” Bartolo said.

Kayla is such a big Rowdy fan that during the Christmas season, instead of elf on a shelf, they have Rowdy on a shelf, her mother said.