Thomas is an autistic teenager with a serious love for all things Disney — and that love's been documented quite thoroughly on social media: he's got a dedicated Instagram account detailing his travels through the studio's parks along with other magical experiences.
One of the recurring experiences that pops up on Thomas' social media feeds is his visits with various Disney parks' characters.
Recently, Thomas met up with an actress who was playing Moana at Disney World. In the clip, the young man can be seen greeting the actress who recognizes him by name. The young man greets the actress, putting his hand on her clavicle, which she redirects but still holds as she continues to speak to him in a pleasant tone.
She asks him if he's doing well and that it's great to see him and then asks him if he plans on going on any rides, to which Thomas responds with a transition to posing for a picture.
"Thank you, Thomas, it was great to see you today!" she tells the young man as the video cuts out.
The video was uploaded to his TikTok account @magicwiththomas, where it received 29.3 million views.
And there were people with varying opinions on Thomas' interaction with the Moana actress. Several people thought that the Disney Parks employee did a great job demonstrating cognizance of the teen's needs while ensuring that they didn't feel as if they were having their personal space encroached upon.
"I love how she gently took his hand away from her body but still held onto it to let him know she’s okay with some contact," one person wrote.
Another TikTok user penned: "The ability of all characters to redirect his touching brilliant. They respect his way of connecting but professionally move his hands. Much love all around"
Someone else replied: "Aww the way she just gently takes his hand off"
"The way she gently redirects his touch, that’s professionalism!" another mentioned.
"I love how she slowly moves away his hand when she was uncomfortable with it instead of getting upset, we need more people like this is the world"
However, some folks did seem upset with Thomas' interaction with the Moana actress, like one person who thought Thomas was taking up an inordinate amount of the woman's time: "It's nice but the poor girl that followed Moana didn't get to talk with her because they take so much time with Thomas"
To which the person running Thomas' account wrote: "The video is only 20 seconds long. I wouldn’t consider that 'they take so much time with Thomas.' It was brief and anyone waiting to see her could have seen her shortly right after him."
Thomas' Instagram also addressed some of the negative comments that were geared towards his Moana video, like one TikToker who called him a "creep" for his interaction with Moana, writing: "I thought the characters had security for creeps like this"
The account moderator for Thomas' social media replied with the following: "There is a character host right next to her. They do not say anything because they DID NOT see an issue. They both knew his intentions were innocent and that he was touching her necklace."
In their Instagram post covering the controversy surrounding the video, Thomas' account runner also pointed out that the teen had met with this particular Moana actress on four separate occasions and that she was attempting to put his hand on her necklace strap, as "she already knows he likes to look at [and] feel the necklace."
The account moderator added: "Comments like this usually come from males. For some reason, they feel like they need to speak up for women, even when the women involved do not have an issue themselves."
Many commenters, didn't seem to think that the physical way Thomas greeted the actress was anything other than harmless: "All you have to do is watch and pay attention, and you will know that his intentions are innocent," one person penned.
According to Thomas' TikTok account moderator, "most" of the actors and actresses who interact with him at the park are familiar with who he is, too. So, presumably, there's a good chance that they're well aware of how Thomas likes to interact.