RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local teen with autism who has always dreamed of being a scientist got to meet his idol: Bill Nye the Science Guy!

“Work at a Nye Lab, and become the greatest scientist and inventor ever!” 15-year-old Michael said as he read off his ‘science checklist.’

Michael and his parents, Peter and Lisa de Groot, met Bill Nye in Washington D.C. in December. The scientist is now the CEO of The Planetary Society and was there presenting on space exploration.

The meeting came together after Michael’s sister Kelly asked a friend if she could make it happen, knowing how much it would mean to her brother.

“It was so cool! He signed my lab coat and gave me The Planetary Society badge,” Michael said.

Michael de Groot drew a futuristic laboratory design for Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Michael also got to show him a design he drew for Bill Nye’s future lab – “The Nye Laboratory.”

Michael says he has always been interested in science and experimenting. In his room sits his own laboratory, where with the help of his favorite teacher, he does his own exploration.

“My dream is to work with Bill Nye one day in Pasadena, California when I’m older.”

Bill Nye is Michael’s hero and inspiration, and the de Groots say he was kind and patient enough to speak with Michael one-on-one. They say he was also very funny, and had a dry sense of humor.

“To take the time the way he did, to really make a difference for a kid, and for the family, was pretty amazing,” said Peter de Groot.

An amazing memory Michael continues to use as motivation.

“I want to hope to work hard in science and technology so I can become a scientist and inventor.”

Thanks to Jennifer Roberts Bittner for the heads-up on this local story. See her post about it on us the news where you live to