After a man was killed in Orlando, a stranger made a Harry Potter figurine in his honor.


22-year-old Luis Vielma was one of the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando on the night of June 12, 2016.

A soccer player and camping enthusiast, Vielma lived a life similar to any 22-year-old. His day job was at Universal Studios Orlando, where he worked on the Harry Potter ride. 

Which is why his death caught the attention of “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling:

After Rowling’s tweet, there was an outpouring of support for Vielma and his family. Hundreds of people showed up at his funeral, where a massive rainbow flag was held up by volunteers to shield Vielma’s family from anti-gay protestors. 

Rowling also sent a bouquet of red flowers to his funeral. 

“When I walked in to church and saw the beautiful flowers that [Rowling] had sent, I knew he was in heaven dancing of happiness,” a friend of Vielma’s said.

One man decided to immortalize Vielma in a truly special way: by making him into an action figure.

Funko’s Pop! dolls are popular big-headed figurines made to resemble pop culture icons. All kinds of them exist, with famous comic book characters to talk show hosts having one. 

Now, Luis Vielma has one too, complete with Gryffindor attire and a wand.

The maker of the custom figure, Brandon Anderson, from Colorado didn’t know Vielma but got the idea to create the figure after reading about him on Facebook.

“We’re devastated by the tragedy in Orlando,” a Funko representative told Upworthy. “And our hearts go out to all the victims and their families.” 

A memorial service in Orlando after the shooting. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Vielma is only one of the people who were tragically killed that fateful night in Orlando.

So the outpouring of support may seem disproportionate when you consider that there are 49 other families suffering as much as Vielma’s. 

What this tribute shows more than anything is the power of community. 

The Harry Potter fandom is a tight-knit, passionate, and loyal community with values we should all strive to live by: friendship, acceptance, compassion, and bravery.

When those values come together, magic is made. 

Image from “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” via YouTube/Cation.


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